Lift Saab’s bankruptcy protection: administrator

Lift Saab's bankruptcy protection: administrator
The restructuring of beleaguered Swedish carmaker Saab has been called off by the company's administrator Guy Lofalk, after he submitted a court petition, according to a statement by Saab Automobile.

“Guy Lofalk, will apply for termination of the voluntary reorganization of Saab Automobile AB (Saab Automobile – SWAN) and two subsidiaries with the District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden,” the firm confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

Guy Lofalk was appointed by the Vänersborg district court in southwestern Sweden to oversee Saab’s three-month restructuring process under bankruptcy protection.

The firm confirmed in its statement that it is considering future steps and advised staff that it has five days to submit an appeal.

“The management of Saab Automobile will consider future steps and continue current discussions with Youngman about the necessary funding to pay the wages and be able to continue the voluntary reorganization.”

SWAN stated this week that talks were ongoing with a new configuration of Chinese partners in what was described as a bid to appease previous owner US General Motors (GM) and save the Trollhättan-based firm.

The firm had previously agreed to sell 100 percent of Saab to Youngman and Chinese car distribution company Pang Da, but General Motors blocked the necessary transfer of technology licences to the two Chinese firms.

According to Swedish media reports, Swan had agreed to sell 19.9 percent of Saab to Youngman and 29.9 percent of the firm to state-owned Bank of China, thus ensuring that Chinese ownership remain below the sensitive 50-percent threshold.

Guy Lofalk has previously applied, on October 21st, for the process to be terminated. That application was withdrawn a week later when the plans for the takeover by Pang Da and Youngman were presented.

Saab has no obligation to file for bankruptcy even if the restructuring process were to be ended by the court. There are however four outstanding bankruptcy claims against the firm filed by overseas supplier Takata-Petri.

In its statement on Wednesday, SWAN insisted it was still pursuing discussions with Youngman to allow it to continue the restructuring and especially to find wages for Saab’s some 3,700 employees, whose salaries have been delayed five months running and who have yet to receive their November paychecks.

The attempts to sell Saab to Chinese partners has been seen as the last chance of saving the Swedish carmaker, which was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it to Swedish Automobile — at the time called Spyker — in early 2010 for $400 million.

It has been a rocky road since then. The carmaker was forced to halt production in April as suppliers stopped deliveries over mountains of unpaid bills.

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