• Sweden's news in English

Antonov ready to be an owner of Saab

TT/The Local/dl · 10 Mar 2011, 17:00

Published: 10 Mar 2011 17:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"If the goal isn't reached it would be nice for Saab to have €50-70 million ($69-97 million) as a little something extra to lean on. We're ready to provide that money if we're allowed to do so by the EIB," Antonov told the TT news agency, referring to the European Investment Bank.

He added that he doesn't see any risk that the EIB would withdraw its loan to Saab if he is brought in as a financial backer for the company.

"The EIB has fantastic security and a fantastic interest rate for the Saab loan. Why would they take it back? For the moment, everything is working well," said Antonov.

However, he still wants to put pressure on the EIB to let him be a financier of Saab, which he claims that bank isn't prepared to do.

"Toward the end of the year, there's a risk that Saab will need another financial partner and it's not easy to find one. But we want to because we think Saab is a good investment," he said.

When Spyker Cars bought Saab from US carmaker General Motors (GM) last year, the business model stipulated that GM would pay for equipment and remaining debt and that Saab would also receive a loan from the EIB worth €400 million.

The Swedish government also provided state guarantees for the loan, with Saab assets serving as collateral.

The loan is paid out in several parts and runs through 2016. Saab pays interest to the EIB and a guarantee premium to the Swedish state.

According to Antonov, Saab would go bankrupt "in a few days" if the EIB withdrew the loan.

"But that's never going to happen. There's no reason for it. I don't see any risk that the Swedish state would need to go in and take over the loan," he said.

The specific agreement between Saab, the EIB, and the Swedish state, remains confidential, according to Daniel Barr of the Swedish Debt Office (Riksgälden).

"In the agreement, just as in any other major loan agreement, there is a 'change of control' clause, which means that the loan provider must approve all major ownership changes. We haven't received any inquiries about any large ownership changes," he told TT.

He added that he was familiar with press reports about Antonov's interest in investing in Saab, but his agency hasn't been approached about the matter.

"That's something for Saab or Spyker to inquire about," he said.

Antonov was force out as a major owner in Spyker Cars in order for the Saab deal to go through. In reality, he lent most of the roughly $100 million to Saab board chair Victor Muller's company – money which was used in part to purchase Saab and in part to resolve Antonov's ownership stake in Spyker.

The Russian financier has already agreed to by Spyker Car's heavily-indebted sports car operations, and has also expressed his interest in owning Saab.

Story continues below…

He believes the business plan can work and that Saab can be profitable, but he thinks that 2011 sales forecasts are a bit optimistic.

"I'm not involved in how the company is run so I don't have access to the numbers. But according to earlier versions of the business plan, they have to sell 80,000 cars this year to stay with the plan. From my point of view, I think that's a bit too optimistic," he said.

In order to invest in Saab, he and Muller are working to find other financing so that the EIB loan could be paid back.

According to Antonov, they are speaking with several different groups, including banks.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:41 March 10, 2011 by TheImmigrant
If this guy is so confident Saab can make it, why doesn't he throw in his own money? The whole thing reeks of being another `Rover' deal in the UK where the guys who were supposed to `save' the company, just bilked the British taxpayers for billions, then declared bankruptcy -- in effect stiffing the British workers twice by costing them both their jobs and the bail-out money. I know Sweden wants to save the jobs of the Saab workers, but this is throwing good money after bad. Saab failed because of a long history of bad management (a problem with Volvo as well). You didn't have to be a genius to realize that building gas guzzling luxury cars to compete with BMW and Mercedes was a path to destruction. Saab will most likely fail again. The money would be better spent on IT and new technologies that can truly create real jobs, not just the illusion of saving old ones.
08:05 March 11, 2011 by lugasue
Good point, the Saab history has a lot of mystery (trams) back of the curtains.
14:26 March 14, 2011 by jack sprat
Anatov has been speaking with a forked tongue from day one, little wonder that GM wouldn't trust him as far as they could throw him.

Once he's sqeezed every last possible cent from EIB and Sweden, it will be thank you and goodbye, as far as Saabs future with Sweden is concerned, much as I have predicted all along.
Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available