Reinfeldt fobs off Koenigsegg Saab plea

The Swedish state has no intention of bailing out the Koenigsegg Group, the prospective buyers of Saab Automobile, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said.

Reinfeldt fobs off Koenigsegg Saab plea

“I am not prepared to put Sweden in hock and act as a venture capitalist for the well-heeled,” Reinfeldt said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Reinfeldt was backed up by the enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, in rejecting Koenigsegg Group’s call for a bridging loan to make up the reported 3 billion kronor ($419 million) gap in their financing to complete the deal.

The Local reported on Tuesday that ailing US car firm General Motors had confirmed the signing of a stock purchase agreement with the Koenigsegg Group regarding the sale of Saab Automobile to the Swedish-led consortium.

With reports emerging that there remained significant financial obstacles to be overcome before completing the deal, Christian von Koenigsegg called on the Swedish state to provide the loans.

“We see this as a deal between three parties; General Motors, Koenigsegg Group and the Swedish state,” he said to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Reinfeldt reacted angrily when the subject came up at a press conference on Wednesday.

“There are those trying to change the way companies should be run in Sweden. Firstly, the buyer stumps up insufficient funds. Then the venture capital and credit markets…decline to join in. And then the state is left there as the largest venture capitalist of them all, who with welfare money should go in and assume the risk that no one else wants to take,” Reinfeldt said.

The opposition Social Democrats have by way of a response accused the government of inaction.

“The government has, for ideological reasons, decided not to act. In other countries the state exerts itself to save jobs,” party spokesperson Tomas Eneroth said, who claimed that 12,000 jobs were on the line.

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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.