SWEDEN: Saab mulls imminent restart should supplier talks succeed
Saab says it is hoping to restart production next week at its idle factory although this hinges on crucial talks with suppliers.
The tentative timetable follows today's (3 May) announcement of a partnership with Chinese automaker Hawtai that could see a cash injection of EUR150m (US$22m) into Saab.
The Swedish automaker will recall all its production staff currently at home this Thursday (5 May) in a bid to start work preparations, but the crucial supply chain has still to be addressed.
"We are hoping once we get funds into the company, production could re-start within a week of that," a Saab spokeswoman told just-auto from Sweden. "We are calling all people to work this Thursday - we are hoping to resume production next week.
"We are very humble - we have to agree with our suppliers before we can determine the timing - it is our top priority."
Saab declined to reveal how many suppliers it was negotiating with to resolve the issue that has seen its Trollhattan factory shut for several weeks, although it hinted sufficient funds were now available to settle outstanding issues.
"What we have put in place now should be enough to come to that agreement with the suppliers," said the spokeswoman.
However, earlier today managing director of the Scandinavian automotive suppliers association FKG, Sven-Ake Berglie, told just-auto reasonable terms from Saab could include "cash-on-delivery".
"There are many nice words, but let's talk about facts and then we can go over to the visions," he said.
Saab is not out of the woods yet however. A highly complex series of negotiations running in tandem has still to see the European Investment Bank agree to Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov investing EUR30m, while the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) must ratify any ownership change.
"The SNDO has to approve any new owners if the share...in Spyker is higher than 9.99%," an spokeswoman for the Debt Office in Stockholm told just-auto. "If it goes above that level there has to be approval from us."
Today's agreement with Hawtai will see the Chinese company invest EUR120m for up to a maximum of a 29.9% stake in Spyker and provide a EUR30m convertible loan to Saab.
"If there is an application we will start speedily, we have a continuous dialogue with Spyker," said the SNDO spokeswoman. "As soon as the application arrives, we will start working on it."