Just why aren't Saab's receivers on today's (19 January) trip to China as a high-powered delegation seeks to salvage something from the wreckage of the automaker's recent bankruptcy?

Chinese manufacturer Youngman has put its hand in its pocket and even paid for the Swedish visitors, who include representatives from Bosch and Scandinavian supplier body FKG, but of the receivers, no sign.

"It is a very strange story," European automotive supplier body CLEPA CEO Lars Holmqvist told me from Brussels this morning. You can say that again.

It now appears the mysterious receivers, namely, Hans Bergqvist from Delphi and Anne-Marie Pouteaux from Wistrand, have been supplemented by DLA Nordic lawyer Kent Hagglund.

Interestingly, the extra legal firepower has been deemed necessary due to a "conflict of interest" highlighted by Pouteaux and Bergqvist. "During the administration of the insolvency, we have become aware a conflict of interest may arise for us both in administering matters concerning the Saab trademark, the griffin figurative trademark, the company name Saab and related issues," say the pair.

"For this reason we proposed a joint receiver be appointed to handle these matters."

What conflict of interest? My calls to the receivers are regularly not returned and while there is clearly still worldwide media interest in Saab, it appears from my discussions with supplier bodies around Europe, theirs aren't either.

"The information from the solicitors - we don't get any information," FKG managing director Frederik Sidahl told me from Stockholm.

Why the complete Swedish radio silence from the receivers? Apart from some bland statements on their website instructing Saab employees to return equipment, there's very little meat on any restructuring bones.

It seems as if it's been down to the suppliers to make the running - and let's face it in fairness they are hungry to recover their cash - well north of EUR150m (US$193m).

To that end, CLEPA has played a canny game, apparently working behind the scenes as a senior FKG representative and experienced Bosch staffer, who not only knows Youngman "inside and out," but who crucially speaks Chinese, were on the flight.

According to the influential CLEPA boss: "We arranged for Bosch to send an experienced [person] to China," with perhaps the emphasis on the 'arranged' there. CLEPA seems to have been at the forefront of so much with Saab, having its ear very firmly to the ground and exercising its considerable clout when needed.

Just to illustrate that, some pointed CLEPA coverage in the Swedish press recently appears to have softened the receivers' hearts. "We appeared in the Swedish newspapers and after that, they [receivers] changed their mind," Holmqvist told me.

"They are not going there [China, but] have arranged some meetings in Stockholm."

CLEPA is calling the shots here, 'arranging' this and 'appearing' there.

A call to the receivers' office this morning turned up with the news they are holding a press conference for invited people this Saturday (21 January).

Invited? On a Saturday morning in Sweden? What can be so important that only a select few are allowed to hear it first hand on a non-traditional work day?

Perhaps I'll ring CLEPA this weekend to find out.

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