Lay-offs loom at Saab suppliers

Suppliers to beleaguered Swedish carmaker Saab have reported that they will be forced to start laying off staff if there is no decision by the European Investment Bank to approve the sale of real estate by the end of this weekend.

Lay-offs loom at Saab suppliers

“Frustration is growing around Saab and the decision anxiety that prevails within the EIB. If nothing happens this weekend, there will be lay-offs,” Svenåke Berglie, the president of FKG, a subcontractor’s trade association, told the TT news agency.

He says the situation is acute for Saab Automobile. “Yes, because the EIB has delayed, and delayed, and delayed their decision,” he said.

He says subcontractors have waited for this first step to save Saab.

The first step is to let Saab chairman Victor Muller’s friend, the Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, buy Saab’s real estate company and then lease it back to the company. That would free up $44 million that the company needs to solve its outstanding payment to suppliers.

The Swedish government has approved the deal as long as it satisfies certain requirements.

The Chairman of FKG, Christer Palm, told TT that Saab’s situation is very acute. “Antonov’s money is worth its weight in gold to strengthen the company’s working capital,” he said.

Last year Saab sold just over 30,00 cars, down from its original forecast of between 50,000 and 60,000. The cash-strapped copmany’s factories in Trollhättan have been idle since the end of March as the company tries to find a way to pay its suppliers.

Both Berglie and Palm agree that this first deal that needs to be approved by the EIB is only a beginning.

“This won’t be enough,” Berglie told TT. “Long-term financing needs to be secured.”

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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.