No government rescue for Saab: Olofsson

Sweden's enterprise minster Maud Olofsson lamented the "very sad" news on Friday of the imminent demise of Saab Automobile, while also reiterating her long-held assertion that the government will not step in to save the brand.

No government rescue for Saab: Olofsson

“It is very bleak. Very sad news for all of the employees and it comes at the worst possible time,” Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson told Swedish news agency TT.

GM said in a statement Friday it had failed to reach an agreement with Dutch sports car maker Spyker on a sale of the division.

“We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organisation to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner,” GM said.

Saab chief Jan Åke Jonsson told the press conference he was “very disappointed”.

“But now the decision has been made and we are waiting to see how GM plans to carry out the winding-down,” he said.

Following the announcement, Olofsson told TT: “I am the first to regret that GM did not want to complete the deal.”

Olofsson has called a meeting between union representatives, authorities and the company to discuss the situation in Saab’s hometown of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden on Monday.

But she reiterated the centre-right government’s position that the Swedish state would not step in to become Saab’s owner, saying it has no place owning car companies.

“We don’t have the expertise and we don’t have the money,” she said.

“I don’t think GM really knows how the wind-down is going to take place, but GM has to take its responsibility,” Olofsson said, adding: “The most important thing right now is to take care of the employees and the future, how to make the most of their know-how.”

Saab employs about 3,400 people in Sweden. According to media reports, a closure of Saab could lead to more than 8,000 job losses, including subcontractors and others dependent on the carmaker.

An iconic brand: Saab’s history in pictures

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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.