Saab creditors accept massive write-down

Saab Automobile’s creditors agreed on Wednesday to write down 75 percent of the automaker’s debts, significantly reducing the financial burden facing the Koenigsegg Group once it assumes ownership of the company.

Saab creditors accept massive write-down

According to attorney Guy Lofalk, the court-appointed administrator of Saab’s reconstruction, getting Saab’s creditors to agree to the debt accord was an important issue in negotiations with the new owner.

On Wednesday, Lofalk was joined by representatives from 15 creditors at a meeting in Vänersborg in southwestern Sweden for a vote on whether or not to accept a deal which would see creditors write down 75 percent of Saab’s more than 10 billion kronor ($1.3 billion) in debt.

Ahead of the vote, Lofalk indicated that he had been given the authority to vote in favour of the accord by 472 of what he estimated to be a total of 579 creditors owed money by Saab.

Supporters of the write-down represented more than 80 percent of the creditors, which together are owed about 93 percent of Saab’s debts.

Negotiations lasted less than 20 minutes before Vänersborg District Court Chief Judge Cecilia Tisell signaled that the accord proposed by Saab had enough support from the creditors to be approved by the court.

The Swedish state, however, which was represented at the proceedings by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), remained among the creditors who refrained from voting in favour of the deal, despite claims by the new Koenigsegg ownership group that it has sufficient funds to carry Saab forward.

“They say they have money. But we haven’t received enough information to be able to make an objective judgment of the situation,” said Mats Hagelin from the Tax Agency’s Gothenburg office, to the TT news agency.

However, with a clear majority of the remaining creditors standing behind the accord, the state’s refusal to support it has no practical significance.

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Norwegian’s subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt

The struggling low-cost airline Norwegian has reported its staffing subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden have filed for bankruptcy, meaning roughly three quarters of its pilots and crew will lose their jobs.

Norwegian's subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt
A Norwegian Air Shuttle plane: Photo: Norwegian

In a press release issued on Monday afternoon, the airline said that the financial support packages offered by the Swedish and Danish government had not been sufficiently generous to keep the subsidiaries which employ pilots and cabin crew in the two countries solvent. 

”The impact the Coronavirus has had on the airline industry is unprecedented. We have done everything we can to avoid making this last-resort decision and we have asked for access to government support in both Sweden and Denmark”, said Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram in the statement.  

“Our pilots and cabin crew are the core of our business and they have done a fantastic job for many years.”

“It is heart-breaking that our Swedish and Danish pilot and cabin crew subsidiaries now are forced to file for bankruptcy, and I’m truly sorry for the consequences this will have for our colleagues,”  Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram said in the statement.  

“We are working around the clock to get through this crisis and to return as a stronger Norwegian with the goal of bringing as many colleagues back in the air as possible.”

The company said it was also immediately ending staffing deals with the OSM Aviation, which supplies it with crew based in Spain, UK, Finland, Sweden and the US.

The company said that 1,571 pilots and 3,134 cabin crew would be affected by the move, with only the 700 pilots and 1,300 cabin crew based in Norway, France and Italy being kept on.

In the release, the company blamed the “the lack of significant financial support” from the Swedish and Danish governments, which it contrasted with that of Norway, which has agreed to pay “all salary related costs” while staff are furloughed. 

The companies declared bankrupt include: 
Norwegian Pilot Services Sweden AB
Norwegian Pilot Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Cabin Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Air Resources Denmark LH ApS