Saab shares dive despite strong 2011 report

Swedish defence and aerospace group Saab reported Friday a five-fold increase in its 2011 earnings after clinching several major contracts and said it hoped to increase sales this year.

Saab shares dive despite strong 2011 report

“2011 was an important year for us and we secured several key orders, such as further development and maintenance orders for the Gripen (fighter) from (Sweden) … and for our multi-mission radar system Giraffe from the US,” chief executive Håkan Buskhe said in a statement.

“I am also proud of the strong recognition Gripen received when the Swiss government … selected it” as the preferred bidder, he said.

The Swiss government is expected to formally approve the choice of the Gripen multi-role fighter in February.

In November, Bern announced it would buy 22 Gripen fighters to replace its ageing F5 fighter fleet for an estimated 3.1 billion francs ($3.38 billion).

But amid pressure from other rival suppliers still eager to win the deal, Saab, according to unconfirmed press reports, is ready to review its price down to perhaps 2.5-2.8 billion francs.

In 2011, Saab posted a net profit of 2.23 billion kronor ($333.8 million), up from 433 million in 2010. In the fourth quarter alone, profit rose 52-fold to 413 million kronor from 8.0 million kronor.

Sales fell 4.0 percent in 2011 to 23.50 billion kronor and were down 9.0 percent in the fourth quarter to 7.35 billion kronor.

“For 2012, we estimate that sales will increase slightly compared to 2011,” Buskhe said.

Orders however were lower in the second half of the year as “a consequence of continuous delays in customers’ decision making processes.”

Orders fell 28 percent in 2011 to 18.91 billion kronor giving an order book at the end of the year worth 37.17 billion kronor, down 10 percent from 2010.

That news worried investors and Saab’s share price slumped 9.3 percent in afternoon trade on a Stockholm market down just 1.25 percent.

Saab AB, whose star product is the JAS Gripen fighter, has for more than 30 years been a separate company from the now-bankrupt carmaker Saab Automobile.

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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.