Saab’s US unit hopes to avoid bankruptcy

The North American unit of bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab will try to avoid going into bankruptcy itself to keep up warranties for recent car buyers and support dealers left with inventory, a company official said Wednesday.

Tim Colbeck, president of Saab Cars North America, based outside of Detroit, said in a telephone interview that the unit has hired consultants to avoid creditors forcing them into filing for bankruptcy protection while they sort out what can be done with remaining assets.

“We hope to avoid filing for bankruptcy,” he said.

The consultants, McTevia & Associates, will sort out and organize the claims SCNA is facing and figure out an equitable way to deal with them, Colbeck said.

He declined to say what kind of assets there were, but he said SCNA hoped to reinstate the warranties of car owners who bought Saabs before 2010 while it was still controlled by General Motors.

Colbeck said SCNA has been overwhelmed with calls and messages from Saab owners who are in despair over the company’s shutdown.

“There is a lot of emotion,” he said.

Saab Automobile filed for bankruptcy on Monday, bringing to an end two years of efforts to rescue the iconic brand which has been the hallmark of Swedish cars for six decades.

In Sweden, insurance company If, in cooperation with Swedish Saab dealerships, has said it will cover the costs associated with the company’s vehicle damage warranty through 2012 for the roughly 2,000 vehicles sold in Sweden during the last year.

Meanwhile, GM has confirmed it has set aside $100 million in special reserve to deal with claims that could arise from the collapse of Saab.

The reserve will be used mainly to settle the claims of suppliers who might have made parts for the 2012 Saab 94-X, which GM had planned to build for the company in Mexico.

Saab’s bankruptcy filing in Sweden, devalued the franchises of Saab dealers in the United States and Canada and left thousands of owners without warranty coverage if they bought a new Saab after March, 2010, after its sale to Spyker Cars, now known as Swedish Automobile (Swan), of the Netherlands was finalized.

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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