GM bankruptcy has ‘no impact’ on Saab: CEO

Sweden's Saab Automobile will be unaffected by its parent company General Motors filing for bankruptcy in the United States, Saab chief executive Jan-Åke Jonsson told AFP on Monday.

GM bankruptcy has 'no impact' on Saab: CEO

Saab’s American owner filed for protection from its creditors in a New York court on Monday in a bid to re-emerge as a new, leaner company.

But Jonsson stressed this would have “no impact whatsoever” on Saab’s own reorganization process that began in Swedish courts in February.

“It does not affect the process of carving out the Saab organization from GM, ensuring future financing and finding a new owner… no impact whatsoever,” he said in an interview at Saab’s Trollhättan headquarters in southwest Sweden.

When asked about the identity of a potential new owner, Jonsson said: “We have two that we are having serious discussions with and one that is interested in coming back into the process.”

The Saab chief declined to name any of the parties involved, but told AFP that he hoped a memorandum of understanding would be signed with a preferred buyer “within a week or two.”

Media reports say that Sweden’s niche sportscar maker Koenigsegg, US investment company Renco Group and Italy’s Fiat are all keen on buying Saab.

“We will take June to complete the negotiations and hope a contract will be ready by the end of the month,” Jonsson said.

Last week, Swedish judges gave Saab until August 20 to prepare itself for new ownership, granting an additional three months of protection from its creditors.

Saab owes 9.7 billion kronor ($1.3 billion) to GM — its largest individual creditor — as well as 347 million kronor to the Swedish government.

Other creditors are owed 647 million kronor.

GM wants to sell loss-making Saab in a bid to shore up its own finances and has appointed Germany’s Deutsche Bank to advise them on the sale.

Saab employs about 3,400 people in Sweden. Including suppliers, some 15,000 jobs in the country are believed to be at risk if the company were to disappear.

The Swedish automaker sold 93,000 cars worldwide in 2008, its website said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.