SWEDEN: Saab suppliers could start receiving money by January next year
Saab said it would unveil its repayment plan to suppliers by 22 November as a creditor's meeting in the Swedish town of Vanersborg today (31 October) overwhelmingly endorsed the automaker's reorganisation.
News that Chinese companies Youngman and Pang Da plan to buy Saab completely - in a 60%/40% split respectively - means the manufacturer could have access in the next couple of years to around EUR650m (US$909m) of financing.
Of immediate concern will be the supplier debt, estimated at EUR150m to just-auto by European automotive component association CLEPA last week, while it is unclear at this stage what will happen to the loan made available by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and guaranteed by the Swedish government.
"None of the creditors opposed the continuation of reorganisation and the [Vanersborg] Court granted us to continue," a Saab spokeswoman who was at the meeting today told just-auto. "What we are going to do involves waiting for the NDRC [China National Development and Reform Commission] and the EIB and all those approvals that need to be done during November.
"We will be talking with suppliers - we will come back with a proposal for a payment plan. The intention is still to pay off all the debts in full - that plan will be due on 22 November and by 6 December we will gather in all the comments on the plan."
Saab added this would mean the reorganisation would stretch into the early new year with a further meeting on 10 January to formally adopt the plan. By 31 January, that plan will become official for suppliers.
The automaker said: "As far as the creditors are concerned...is the end of it because they know the payments they have signed up for will actually happen."
Should Saab eventually exit reorganisation, there is a further creditor in the form of the Swedish state that has paid the automaker's employee salaries for the last three months.
Saab also announced today it would cut 500 jobs from its almost-4,000 strong workforce and look to eliminate SEK1bn of cost from the company.
If production restarts, Saab will aim to manufacture 35,000-55,000 vehicles for 2012, with a total of 75,000-85,000 the following year and an eventual ramping up to 185,000-205,000 cars. However, Saab does not expect to return to profitability before 2014.
Saab had not received the money committed from Youngman and Pang Da when contacted today but insisted it was "confident" the finance would be forthcoming.