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Saab plans to replace EIB loan to ease Antonov takeover: report

Saab Automobile has plans to replace a 2.2 billion kronor ($346.6 million) loan facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB), allowing Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov to step in as owner, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.

Saab plans to replace EIB loan to ease Antonov takeover: report

“When the new loan is ready, Antonov is prepared to come in and take a owner’s share of 29.5 percent,” said Antonov’s Swedish spokesperson Lars Carlström to DN.

EIB has put a halt on the Russian businessman’s ambitions to own Saab, but by paying back their loan to the investment bank the firm will be freed of their restrictions.

Reports about Saab’s plans are echoed by Svenåke Berglie, chairman of FKG, the trade association representing Scandinavian suppliers to the automotive industry.

“That is our impression. In the contract with EIB there are obstacles. Leaving EIB means that Antonov might be able to join without being approved,” he said to DN.

According to Carlström, Saab’s plan is to use their subsidiaries as collateral when securing a new loan.

“Saab’s spare and accessories company alone, Saab Parts, is worth 3.5-4 billion kronor. There’s a million Saab cars out on the roads that’ll be needing spare parts within the next 20 years,” said Carlström.

Eric Geers, Saab’s information director, told DN that Saab would like to have a more flexible solution than the EIB’s, but was otherwise unwilling to comment on reports that the company is planning to replace this loan with other financing.

Attempts made by The Local on Monday to contact Saab Automobile for confirmation of these reports were unsuccessful.

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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.