Saab: production to resume in two weeks

Cash-strapped Swedish carmaker Saab Automobile is hopeful of restarting frozen production lines within two weeks after receiving orders totalling 10,000 vehicles.

Saab: production to resume in two weeks

The Swedish government is expected to declare its position on whether to approve Russian financier Vladimir Antonov as a shareholder in Saab within a couple of days, according to the local TTELA news website, citing a local Moderate Party politician.

“A statement is imminent, I would think within a few days, but maybe not this week,” Trollhättan councillor Peter Eriksson told the website.

According to information manager Eric Geers, order books are currently busting with orders for more than 10,000 cars and he is hopeful that production lines will start to roll within two weeks.

“It is very important for the whole system to get started as quickly as possible. And believe it or not – orders have even been dropping in during the crisis.”

Salaries for June, which were delayed by the acute cash shortage at the firm, have now been paid out following a deal this week to secure short term capital.

“My own salary came in yesterday,” Eric Geers explained.

The firm was however unable to clearly establish how the salaries and wages of employees would be paid for in the coming months.

“We have had problems with short-term cash flows, which have been solved by having received funds, so we assume that it will work in future as well,” said Per Bränneby, a union representative at Saab’s Trollhättan plant.

“But then it is all dependent on what happens in negotiations with suppliers.”

Vladimir Antonov arrived in Stockholm on Thursday in his private jet from London, his Swedish spokesperson Lars Carlström said. However, meetings with government representatives regarding Saab Automobile are not on his agenda.

Carlström expects that a press conference will be called by Antonov in Stockholm in the near future, although not this week.

“We hope to get something set up pretty soon, maybe next week,” he said.

Meanwhile outstanding payment claims for Saab Automobile continue to drop into the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden).

A further four demands have been lodged over the past two days, one of which was for 6.9 million kronor ($1.1 million) from an IT company. The number of outstanding claims currently numbers 80 cases and totals some 82 million kronor.

The largest single claim is for more than 44 million million from vehicle component manufacturer IAC.

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Trollhättan remembers school attack victims

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Three people were killed in an attack that shocked Sweden as a masked, sword-wielding assailant entered the school, stabbing students and teachers who appeared to be of foreign origin. Several people were also injured. The attacker, 21-year-old Anton Lundin Pettersson, was then shot dead by police.

“It was an attack on all of Sweden,” Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said as the procession ended outside the school.

In the week running up to the one-year anniversary, students of the school had made thousands of postcards in memory of the teacher, pupil and teacher aide who were killed in the assault.

A police investigation has showed that Lundin had planned the attack, which lasted around 10 minutes, after being inspired by racist websites.

A teenage student told The Local at the time that many people at the school at first thought it was some kind of a prank.

“I was in a classroom with my class when one of my classmates’ sisters called her to warn her that there was a murderer at the school. So we locked the door to the classroom, but our teacher was still outside in the corridor.”

“We wanted to warn him, so a few of us went outside and then I saw the murderer, he was wearing a mask and had a sword. Our teacher got stabbed.”

“The murderer started chasing me, I ran into another classroom. If I had not run, I would have been murdered. I’m feeling really scared. Everyone’s scared here.”

Trollhättan is an industrial town with around 50,000 residents.