Saab unions unhappy with bankruptcy receivers

Cash-strapped carmaker Saab’s four main unions are unhappy with the appointed bankruptcy receivers but said on Monday that having them changed "would not help the situation".

Saab unions unhappy with bankruptcy receivers

“Nothing has been sent in writing to the district court calling for the receivers’ departure. At this point in time, it’s not relevant to send anything,” said the union’s chief lawyer, Martin Wästfelt, to news agency TT.

The four unions met on Monday to consult regarding the situation of the company’s bankruptcy. However, no demands are yet forthcoming.

“We have found that it serves no purpose in this situation to demand that the receivers are changed,” he said.

The four unions are planning to continue discussions on Tuesday.

“We will also meet with the receivers this week, probably on Thursday,” said Wästfelt to TT.

The appointed Saab receivers, lawyers Ann-Marie Pouteaux and Hans L Bergqvist, have been criticised for their “ignorance” and for “not realizing the complexity of Saab operations” according to the Dagens Industri newspaper (DI).

The unions IF Metall, Unionen, Ledarna and Akademikerna/Ingenjörsförbundet believe that the information they have been given by the receivers is inadequate.

According to DI, it has been confirmed that the receivers don’t really understand Saab, and that the company inventory is far from over.

At the same time, this makes it impossible for the receivers to enter into negotiations with those who have expressed interest in taking over whole, or part, of the Saab Automobile business.

The two bankruptcy receivers are now themselves flagging for a potential conflict of interest. They have therefore requested in writing to Vänersborgs District Court on Monday that a co-trustee be appointed.

This regards the handling of “questions relating to the Saab brand, the label, the trade name and other related matters”, according to the lawyers.

They have therefore proposed that Kent Hägglund, a lawyer at Advokatfirman DLA Nordic in Stockholm, is appointed as co-receiver. According to Bergkvist and Pouteaux, he has been asked and is willing to undertake the task.

Bergqvist’s office has earlier had various assignments with the defense and security company Saab Group.

“The Delphi Law Firm has had various assignments for Saab in regards to the brand and its use, among other things,” said Anders Blom, brand manager at Saab, to TT.

“Vänersborg District Court expects to make a decision concerning the appointment of Kent Hägglund on Thursday afternoon.”

Before this can happen, however, the Supervisory Body for bankruptcy (Tillsynsmyndigheten för konkurser), under the Swedish Enforcement Agency (Kronofogdemyndigheten) will comment on the bankruptcy receivers’ proposal for co-receivers.

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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.