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Spyker confirms talks to sell Saab real estate

Spyker Cars, the Dutch owner of embattled Swedish carmaker Saab, has confirmed that it is in talks to sell off Saab properties in a bid to address cashflow problems which have left production at a standstill.

Spyker confirms talks to sell Saab real estate

“Spyker Cars confirms that it is in discussion with a financial institution on the sale and lease back of Saab Automobile’s real estate property,” it said in a statement.

“The outcome of the discussions is still uncertain and subject to the approval of the Swedish National Debt Office,” it said, adding “further announcements will be made shortly.”

Saab said last week it was suspending car production until further notice as a conflict with suppliers over unpaid bills rendered supply unstable.

Production had been halted three times the previous week, but last week’s halt was the first time since Spyker bought Saab in January 2010 that the carmaker was forced to halt production without a set date for starting it up again.

Sweden’s National Debt Office has a say in Spyker’s business because it guaranteed a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan to Saab.

The announcement sent Spyker shares slightly up 2.56 percent to €4.19 on the Amsterdam stock exchange in early trading on Monday.

Before being rescued at the last minute by Spyker, iconic Swedish carmaker Saab spent 20 years under US auto giant General Motors, during which time it did not turn a profit.

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CARS

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.