‘Saab is a brilliant deal’: Antonov

'Saab is a brilliant deal': Antonov
Russian financier and potential Saab investor Vladimir Antonov, who remains undaunted by recent troubles the Swedish carmaker, is currently being vetted by the Swedish debt office.

“Saab is a brilliant business deal,” Lars Carlström, Antonov’s Swedish spokesperson, told news agency TT.

Carlström is surprised that other potential backers haven’t realised this. According to him, it is a myth that Saab isn’t making any money.

“Saab was very integrated into General Motors and a lot of the profits went straight into their production,” Carlström said to news agency TT.

But now the future is bright for Saab and the Antonov group wants a large share.

“In 2008 Saab sold 133,000 cars with a ten-year-old model. Today, there are three new models and all are not even released on the market. It should be possible to sell a 100,000 cars now, reaching 130,000 in a year or two,” Carlström told TT.

Meanwhile, the Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) has been advised to investigate the Russian financier at the request of Sweden’s enterprise ministry.

“I don’t know when it will be completed, but these kind of investigations must be allowed to take their time,” Håkan Lind, head of information at the ministry for enterprise, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

According to SR, an investigation into Antonov’s past was initiated as soon as the sale to Spyker was on the agenda.

Antonov was then a part owner but was forced out by GM, and the investigation was interrupted.

Behind the investigation were rumours that Antonov had connections to the Russian mafia, but no evidence has been found to confirm these reports.

In the mean time the Saab’s factory in western Sweden remains idle.

According to SR the employees were told on Thursday morning to not bother showing up for work on Friday either.

On Thursday Antonov’s plans to become an owner of Saab appeared to be moving forward as the Debt Office announced it had received an agreement from Saab and a “foreign party” thought to be Antonov.

According to debt office head Bo Lundgren, it is now up to the Swedish government to decide how to proceed regarding potential changes to Saab’s ownership.

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