Saab creditors accept massive write-down

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.

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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