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Saab lacks funds to pay staff wages

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Saab lacks funds to pay staff wages
08:36 CEST+02:00
Cash-strapped carmaker Saab won't be able to pay this months wages to its 3,800 employees, according to a statement from the company.

"It is dreadful. Completely unbelievable. I get chest pains. How on earth are we supposed to pay our bills?," said Fredrik Almqvist, employee of Saab since 16 years to news agency TT.

When Almqvist woke up on Thursday morning, a text message from a colleague alerted him to the fact he would not receive any wages.

He ran downstairs, turned on the TV and read on tele-text that Saab won't be able to pay their employees.

“It is regrettable to have to notify staff of this the day before midsummer,” said Gunilla Gustavs of the information department at Saab Automobiles to news agency TT.

According to Gustavs it is impossible to say when wages could be paid out to Saab personnel.

“It is impossible to make any sort of forecast, except to repeat that the company is trying to solve this as quickly as possible,” aud Gustavs to TT.

The information reached Saab employees via email on Thursday morning.

"It has been sent to all employees notifying them that the company is late with payments," confirmed Sten M Larsson, deputy head of trade union Unionen to TT.

And the worker's trade union IF Metall are worried. The late payment will affect between 1,400 and 1,500 of the union's members at Saab.

"Of course it is in no way positive that the company has got in such a pickle that they can't pay wages to their employees," said Häkan Skött, of the Metall union to TT.

Svenåke Berglie, chairman of FKG, the trade association representing Scandinavian suppliers to the automotive industry, told TT that this shows just how desperate Saab's situation is.

"It is very worrying that they can't even give a prognosis. they should be able to say when it will be dealt with, if it is this afternoon or tomorrow," Berglie told TT.

Recently Saab's Dutch owner Spyker announced it planned to hand over majority control of Saab to two Chinese companies, distributor Pang Da Automobile and car manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, in a bid to secure last-ditch rescue funding.

While observers hailed the deal, which also boosted Spyker's share price, they cautioned it might not go through quickly enough to secure the desperately-needed short-term cash Saab needs to stay afloat.

Saab, which employs 3,800 people, was rescued at the last minute in early 2010 when tiny Dutch company Spyker bought it for 400 million dollars from US auto giant General Motors.

After initial optimistic statements and production forecasts, Spyker and Saab have recently been scrambling to pull together enough cash to keep production going and suppliers happy.

Saab's main factory stood still for over seven weeks during April and May as suppliers halted their deliveries to Saab over unpaid bills.

Production started up again on May 27 but stopped again on June 8 when the company complained it was missing components for the assembly line.

Assembly line workers were informed in a meeting on Monday that they would not be needed back at work until Monday, July 4.

According to the latest Saab statement, the company is in talks with several different parties in order to raise the cash both in the short run and through property sales and leasing.

According to the Saab statement there are no guarantees as of yet that these discussions will prove successful enough to result in more money.

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