SWEDEN: Saab waits on imminent government nod for Russian cash
Saab has estimated that, should formal approval of investment from Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov occur as early as today (20 April), production could re-start next week.
Sweden's National Debt Office is mulling the plan from Saab that would allow Antonov to purchase the Trollhattan facility, with speculation centering on a figure of EUR30m (US$43.5m), although it is thought the automaker could need far more of a cash injection.
"We have to wait for formal approval of the investment from Antonov to be able to sell property," a Saab spokesman in Sweden told just-auto. "I assume it will be somewhere today but it is a European Investment Bank (EIB) process.
The EIB originally lent EUR400m to Saab following its exit from General Motors, with the Swedish government guaranteeing the loan, but any change in financing has to be agreed by the Luxembourg-based bank.
Part of the issue has been the EIB's view that its loan be used for environmental projects, with strict evaluation every quarter of where its money has been spent.
However, severe problems in paying suppliers has seen Saab's Trollhattan facility fall silent for several days as the automaker wrestles with the government to secure more creative ways of releasing cash.
"We have a EUR400m loan from the EIB and everything is secured, such as the Saab parts centre and Saab buildings," added the spokesman. "It is about taking out the buildings as collateral in order to secure other financing."
"If financing is secured, then we have to agree with the suppliers and it will take less than a week to start."
However, Saab has some way to go before its convinces those suppliers the bills will be paid, with the Scandinavian automotive suppliers association (FKG), slamming the automaker's communication in the situation as "a catastrophe."