Swedish government approves Saab deal

The Swedish government has approved Saab’s property sale, according to a statement issued from the ministry for enterprise and energy on Thursday.

Swedish government approves Saab deal

“Yes, we’ve made a decision that they can dispose of these properties and that they thereby get the financing to pay their suppliers,” minister for enterprise and energy, Maud Olofsson, said in an interview broadcast live from Sweden’s political week in Almedalen on Thursday morning.

Last week Saab’s parent company Swedish Automobile signed an agreement to sell 50.1 percent of the shares in its property arm for 255 million kronor ($40 million), providing much needed cash for the crisis-hit Swedish car maker.

The buyer of the property is a consortium headed by Hemfosa Fastigheter, a Swedish property giant.

On Monday the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced its approval of Saab’s property sale, hoped to provide the company with the much needed cash-injection it sought to acquire through the deal.

The Swedish National Debt Office (Riksgälden) decided on Tuesday to approve Saab’s request to sell shares in Saab Automobile.

“The state still has collateral to cover the guarantees provided, also without a pledge of shares in the current property,” wrote the office in a statement released on Tuesday.

According to an official statement from the ministry of enterprise and energy dated Thursday the government has now approved the deal, leaving Saab free to sell and thereby pay suppliers in order to get production going again as soon as possible.

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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.