Pang Da: Saab comment ‘a misunderstanding’

Chinese firm Pang Da and Sweden's Saab have issued a joint statement to clarify that the contract between the firms is valid, stating that prior comments to the contrary were due to a "misunderstanding".

Pang Da: Saab comment 'a misunderstanding'

Pang Da chairman, Pang Qinghua, was reported by Reuters to have said on Wednesday that the firm’s contract with Saab Automobile to become a co-owner does not apply after the company went into business reconstruction.

Saab owner Swedish Automobile immediately responded by calling the statement a misunderstanding and the firms later issued a joint statement clarifying the issue.

“We don’t know if he has been wrongly quoted or if not everything was included in its context. But it is a misunderstanding all the same,” said Gunilla Gustavs at Saab told the TT news agency.

Pang Qinghua’s comments were made to reporters at an industry fair in Chengdu in southern China.

According to Reuters he furthermore added that the Chinese consortium had not yet submitted a proposal to the Chinese government on the Saab deal.

Saab CEO and owner Victor Muller later said in an text to Reuters: “On track with both Pangda and Youngman”.

Gunilla Gustavs earlier expressed surprised at the statement and said that the firm had not received any indications of any problems.

“We do not understand at all what this might involve. We met Pang Da as late as yesterday, and everything is on track. There must be some misunderstanding. There is something not right here,” she said on Wednesday.

Victor Muller met yesterday with Chinese Youngman, which was due to have paid the Swedish automaker 640 million kronor ($95.8 million) two weeks ago but have not yet done so.

“Everyone is standing by their commitments, including Youngman” he said to the Dagens Industri daily, after the meeting.

According to Saab, Chinese authorities will give the go-ahead for the deal on October 14th.

Saab signed a deal in July with Pang Da and Youngman to let the two become partners, following the collapse of a deal with a further Chinese firm Hawtai.

Representatives of the company visited Saab’s production facility in Trollhättan in western Sweden, when production was temporarily re-launched on May 27th this year.

Pang Da placed an order of around 2,000 vehicles from the factory and paid 45 million kronor in advance against the promise of delivery from September this year, something that Saab could not live up to.

Together with Youngman, Pang Da agreed to invest a further sum, equivalent to 2.2 billion kronor, in Saab’s parent firm Swedish Automobile.

Pang Da would thus have a stake of 24 percent.

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Norwegian’s subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt

The struggling low-cost airline Norwegian has reported its staffing subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden have filed for bankruptcy, meaning roughly three quarters of its pilots and crew will lose their jobs.

Norwegian's subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden go bankrupt
A Norwegian Air Shuttle plane: Photo: Norwegian

In a press release issued on Monday afternoon, the airline said that the financial support packages offered by the Swedish and Danish government had not been sufficiently generous to keep the subsidiaries which employ pilots and cabin crew in the two countries solvent. 

”The impact the Coronavirus has had on the airline industry is unprecedented. We have done everything we can to avoid making this last-resort decision and we have asked for access to government support in both Sweden and Denmark”, said Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram in the statement.  

“Our pilots and cabin crew are the core of our business and they have done a fantastic job for many years.”

“It is heart-breaking that our Swedish and Danish pilot and cabin crew subsidiaries now are forced to file for bankruptcy, and I’m truly sorry for the consequences this will have for our colleagues,”  Norwegian's chief executive Jacob Schram said in the statement.  

“We are working around the clock to get through this crisis and to return as a stronger Norwegian with the goal of bringing as many colleagues back in the air as possible.”

The company said it was also immediately ending staffing deals with the OSM Aviation, which supplies it with crew based in Spain, UK, Finland, Sweden and the US.

The company said that 1,571 pilots and 3,134 cabin crew would be affected by the move, with only the 700 pilots and 1,300 cabin crew based in Norway, France and Italy being kept on.

In the release, the company blamed the “the lack of significant financial support” from the Swedish and Danish governments, which it contrasted with that of Norway, which has agreed to pay “all salary related costs” while staff are furloughed. 

The companies declared bankrupt include: 
Norwegian Pilot Services Sweden AB
Norwegian Pilot Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Cabin Services Denmark ApS
Norwegian Air Resources Denmark LH ApS