Saab has welcomed the decision of Vanersborg District Court to postpone its reconstruction hearing to next Monday (19 December).

The original date had been set for this Thursday and while the extension might not seem large, it could prove crucial in giving Saab breathing space to negotiate a rescue package with Chinese manufacturer Youngman.

The Chinese yesterday paid Saab EUR3.4m (US$4.4m), which may have been used to pay outstanding tax liabilities to the Swedish government, but the automaker still needs far more cash to pay overdue November and looming December salaries.

Previous estimates to just-auto by Saab's main white collar labour body, Unionen, have put the manufacturer's monthly wage bill for its near-4,000 employees at around US$8.4m.

Saab administrator Guy Lofalk has applied to have its bankruptcy protection ended - a situation that could potentially leave the manufacturer open to creditor and union claims - but the extra time now allowed could be enough for the automaker to put forward sufficient information to persuade the Court to continue the voluntary reorganisation.

The Vanersborg Court says the hearing will take place in a "large room," at 13:00 (Sweden) on 19 December, indicating a substantial presence from Saab's creditors.

"Only the ones [creditors] who present a few weeks back [previous creditors meeting] will be there," a Saab spokesman in Sweden told just-auto, adding the new date was "a good thing."

The Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) yesterday told just-auto it could recover its loan guarantee from the European Investment Bank of EUR217m should Saab enter bankruptcy and the Luxembourg body call in the debt.

This would be done through a sale pledges in the automaker's parts and tools businesses, although the SNDO stressed it would work first with any receiver appointed by the Court to try and find a buyer.

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