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Factory sale may hold key to Saab’s future

Talks will continue over the weekend between Saab and real estate company Hemfosa in the latest bid to save the ailing carmaker.

Factory sale may hold key to Saab's future

Saab representatives hope that the sale of the factory premises will bring in a vital cash injection which would allow them to get production running again and pay staff salaries.

Should a sale go through, it could raise up to 300 million kronor ($46.1 million) and provide a vital lifeline for the company. Staff were told the day before Midsummer that they would not receive their monthly salary on Monday.

“I cannot say anything more than that we’re working on it,” said Saab spokesperson Gunilla Gustavs.

It had been hoped that the sale would be concluded before the salary run, but it soon became evident that it wouldn’t be the case as the negotiations dragged on. Hemfosa leads a consortium, including insurance giant Folksam and The Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (Fjärde AP-fonden).

Jens Engvall, president of Hemfosa, told Dagens Industri, “It is a difficult matter and we need to get an idea of ​​how credible it is that Saab will survive in a reasonable way. We also need to understand how the agreement with Pang Da and Youngman looks and how the EIB system works. This has meant that it took a little longer than a normal real estate business”.

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, a representative of Da Pang said in an interview with Bloomberg News that the company is still willing to go ahead with the deal with Saab.

“Our previous plans will not change. Saab has temporary financial difficulties but the problems are not fundamental,” said Wang Yin, secretary of the board of Pang Da.

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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.