SWEDEN: Union sanguine on Saab fire-fighting, confirms supplier issue
Saab's main union is estimating work will be halted at the Trollhattan plant for another few days but says the automaker is trying to get a "collective grip" on the stoppage.
The Swedish manufacturer has been embroiled in supplier problems since last week, when it announced the first of several temporary stoppages, and has now halted production completely while it attempts to resolve the situation.
"They have just been putting out fires the last couple of days," IF Metall research officer Aleksandar Zuza told just-auto from Stockholm. "And now they are trying to take a collective grip on the situation and get things rolling again.
"Some suppliers have not been paid, some are trying to get other types of deals because everybody is a bit scared now and wants to be the first in line. It is no big issue just to stop for a couple of days - I hope it is true."
Zuza expressed the hope a long-term solution could be found and noted the Swedish government was "deeply involved" in terms of decision making surrounding loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Saab put in a request to the EIB for the latest instalment of its EUR400m (US$571m) loan underwritten by the Swedish government while, separately, Zuza said the National Debt Office had to approve any change in ownership should Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov take any stake.
Speculation has mounted that Antonov could become a shareholder of up to 30% of Saab, a figure sources close to the automaker today described to just-auto as "a reasonable number".
However, the Debt Office is keeping its cards close to its chest, confining itself to noting that: "There are several things cooking" and that it was evaluating the Antonov proposal.