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Saab confirms ‘extended’ production stoppage

Spyker Cars, the Dutch owner of Sweden's Saab, has said that production will remain on hold indefinitely while it searches for a solution to funding problems in order to pay suppliers.

Saab confirms 'extended' production stoppage

“Spyker and Saab Automobile are currently in discussion with several parties to secure additional short and medium-term funding for Saab Automobile,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

The firm confirmed that production will take around a week to resume even if the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) approves a plan to bolster cashflow by selling off Saab real estate.

The Local reported on Monday that Spyker had confirmed that it was in talks to sell off Saab properties in a bid to address cashflow problems which have left production at the firm’s Trollhättan factory at a standstill.

The firm announced that it intended to lease the properties back.

Amid speculation that Saab is on the verge of collapse, the firm sought to play down fears in its statement on Tuesday, describing the situation as a “short-term liquidity crunch”.

Spyker Cars stated that it expected to be able to give more detail of ongoing negotiations with the National Debt Office and other connect parties at the latest on Thursday.

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 tumbling 4 percent on the Amsterdam stock exchange in early trading on Tuesday. The firm’s stock has thus now fallen more than 30 percent since mid-February.

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

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.