Saab owner reports massive loss

Spyker Cars, the Dutch niche car maker that recently purchased Sweden's Saab, reported losses on Friday equating to almost four times its sales for 2009.

Spyker cars, which makes expensive sports cars but has never made a profit since it began operations in 2000, said it had reduced its annual loss slightly to €22.9 million ($30.6 million) from €23.8 million in 2008.

But this latest loss was more than three times the value of sales.

Sales in 2009 fell to €6.6 million from €7.8 million. The company sold 36 cars, one fewer than in 2008.

Chief executive Viktor Muller said that Spyker Cars had not received any help from the Dutch government at the height of the global economic crisis, remarking that the business had survived and that “the volume of sales was maintained and losses slightly reduced.”

During the economic downturn, even the high end of the auto market had been

affected, he said, remarking that “2009 was a difficult year.”

During the year, the company cut 44 jobs, about one third of the workforce of 135.

In February, Spyker Cars paid $400 million for loss-making Saab which US group General Motors was about to close.

On Wednesday, Muller said he intended to restore Saab to profit by 2012, raising annual production sixfold to 120,000 cars in 2012, employing an extra 500 workers and extending a Saab factory.

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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.