Saab CEO Victor Muller says today’s (7 September) application for voluntary reorganisation has been welcomed by Europe’s primary supplier body CLEPA.

The stricken automaker is currently waiting for the decision of Vanersborg District Court as to whether or not its protection application will be upheld and insists it is the best way to pay suppliers, who are estimated to be owed EUR150m.

Should the court signal its approval of Saab’s reorganisation request, creditors could meet within three weeks of the ruling. If those creditors approve Saab’s plan, Muller said a decision could be taken to pay bills, although it is unclear where this money would come from.

“You need the protection of a reorganisation in order to ensure monies that do come in are used in the most effective way…where reorganisation will lead to an early agreement with the suppliers,” Muller said in Trollhättan. “CLEPA has hailed this position to go into reorganisation – it brings stability – the storm has stopped now. CLEPA is certain all the suppliers will be treated equally.

“We are in constant dialogue with our suppliers so once we have funding in place, we can start production relatively quickly. Of course we are testing the patience of these suppliers tremendously.”

Muller also took time in Trollhättan to praise the Saab unions, whose remarkable restraint he conceded might not last if the court did not grant protection approval to the automaker.

Saab’s labour bodies have made various noises concerning possible bankruptcy filing, but have so far resisted taking the ultimate step, despite their members suffering late salary payments for several months.

“If [we] won’t be able to go through our reorganisation, our union friends will have to file for bankruptcy and rightly so,” said Muller. “We don’t want our employees to suffer one day longer.

“The relationship with the unions has been excellent – this is one of the best things of the Swedish system – I wish we had that in Holland.”