INTERVIEW: New Scandinavian suppliers body (FKG) MD Fredrik Fidahl
Newly-appointed Scandinavian suppliers body (FKG) managing director Fredrik Fidahl took up his position following on from Sven-Ake Berglie and was immediately plunged into the crisis engulfing Saab that has so many implications for his members. A former Saab employee, he talked to just-auto's Simon Warburton about the situation at his prevous company from FKG headquarters in Gothenburg.
j-a: You met Saab CEO Victor Muller this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. What did he say about the extraordinary situation the company finds itself in?
FF: Victor Muller was in for half an hour - we have listened to him many times before as we have regular telephone conversations. He was rather open, very open.[He said] If you should believe him, you should believe in Saab and also for the possibility for our suppliers to come back.
j-a: How did you find him?
FF: He is an actor, but that is his role now to be very optimistic. Of course we have to balance that, the plan, the puzzle and try to understand the reality behind all this. That is what we are doing together with the suppliers.
j-a: How have your members coped with the situation at Saab?
FF: Our members are very patient - on the other hand what could they do? To run Saab to bankruptcy, that means they get zero paid, everybody knows that.
j-a: Did Muller specify any payment timetable?
FF: Victor Muller promised to pay every penny. He said he would look to pay everything but he did not say when. What we say is you really need to decrease your debt with some payment plan, but that is up to every supplier to negotiate. We can't do that as an organisation.
j-a: Can you envisage filing for Saab's bankruptcy?
FF: It is no reason run Saab to bankruptcy because we would know for 100% certainty we would get nothing.
At the time of writing, Saab's largest blue-collar union, IF Metall has just announced it will file for Saab's bankruptcy on 20 September unless the Court allows an appeal against voluntary reorganisation rejection.
Should Saab be granted bankruptcy protection, the Swedish State would pay employee salaries, although the automaker would have to refund this money at a future date.
Equally, potential investor, Chinese manufacturer Youngman, said it had provided the National Development and Reform Commission with documentation following approval at provincial level for its proposed EUR136m (US$187m) investment in Saab.
The situation, as ever, remains extremely fluid.