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SAAB

Saab profits fall on Gripen marketing costs

Swedish aeronautical and defence group Saab AB has posted a 15 percent fall in first quarter pretax profit to 324 million kronor ($54 million), hit by flat sales and reduced profitability after an increase in marketing costs.

The headline result was below average market expectations of 417 million kronor, as reported by SME Direkt.

Operating profit fell 7 percent to 385 million kronor, and operating margin to 7.7 percent from 8.4.

“The lower operating income is mainly due to higher marketing expenses largely related to tenders for Gripen to a number of countries,” said Saab.

Sales rose 1 percent to 4.979 billion kronor and below market expectations of 5.122 billion. The company said sales were negatively affected by exchange rate fluctuations of about 50 million kronor or 1 percent. Organic sales growth was 2 percent.

Saab expects its full year results to develop in line with its long term financial objectives for 5 percent organic sales growth and an operating margin of 10 percent, excluding non-recurring items.

Order bookings jumped 44 percent to 7.749 billion kronor, boosted by Sweden’s decision to order an air surveillance system valued at 2 billion.

Some 72 percent of orders came from customers outside of Sweden, and 74 percent was from defence-related operations — down from 77 percent a year earlier. Saab has a stated aim of reducing its reliance on the defence business.

The order backlog at the end of the period amounted to 49.608 billion kronor, down 4 percent from a year earlier.

Saab’s marketing expenses for the first quarter increased 15 percent to 442 million kronor.

CARS

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court

Swedish car maker Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson and the firm's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have appeared in court in Vänersborg in west Sweden, accused of falsifying financial documents shortly before the company went bankrupt in 2011.

Former Swedish Saab bosses appear in court
Saab's former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson. Photo: Karin Olander/TT
The pair are accused of falsifying the paperwork at the height of the Swedish company's financial difficulties at the start of the decade.
 
A third person – who has not been named in the Swedish media – is accused of assisting them by issuing false invoices adding up to a total of 30 million kronor ($3.55m).
 
According to court documents, the charges relate to the firm's business in Ukraine and the paperwork in question was signed just before former CEO Jan Åke Jonsson resigned.
 
Both Jonsson and Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers have admitted signing the papers but denied knowledge of the Ukranian firm implicated in the case.
 
All three suspects deny all the charges against them.
 

Saab's former head lawyer Kristina Geers. Photo:  Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT
 
Saab filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2011, after teetering on the edge of collapse for nearly two years.
 
Chief prosecutor Olof Sahlgren told the court in Vänersborg on Wednesday that the alleged crimes took place in March 2011, when Saab was briefly owned by the Dutch company Spyker Cars.
  
It was eventually bought by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), a Chinese-owned company after hundreds of staff lost their jobs.
 
The car maker, which is based in west Sweden, has struggled to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors since the takeover.
 
In October 2014 it announced it had axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce.
 
Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defence and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.