Saab requests for more time to restructure

Saab Automobile on Tuesday asked a Swedish court for additional time to restructure in preparation for a sale by its US-based owner General Motors.

Saab requests for more time to restructure

The company lodged a request with the Vänersborg district court in southwestern Sweden for an additional three months to reorganize its operations, one day before a similar such period awarded in February expires.

“We have already applied today for an extension which will give us another three months,” Saab spokesman Joe Oliver told AFP, adding that he did not expect Saab would need the full three months.

“This is just another checkpoint in the reorganization process. We have no reason to believe there will be any kind of hitch with this,” Oliver said.

GM wants to sell loss-making Saab, based in Trollhättan, southwestern Sweden, in a bid to shore up its own badly damaged balance sheet and has appointed Germany’s Deutsche Bank to advise them on the sale.

Saab’s court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk told the TT news agency earlier this month that up to three investors wanted to acquire the company.

Oliver, however, declined to reveal the names of any of the interested parties.

Any potential new owner for Saab will have to deal with the unit’s massive debts.

It owes 9.7 billion kronor ($1.2 billion) to GM — its largest individual creditor — as well as 347 million kronor to the Swedish government.

Other creditors are owed 647 million kronor.

Saab employs about 4,100 people in Sweden. Including suppliers, some 15,000 jobs in the country are believed to be at risk if the company were to disappear.

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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.