SWEDEN: Deal taking "far too much time": Saab

By Simon Warburton | 12 December 2011

Saab says it is taking "far too much time" to secure any new finance deal that would see overdue salaries paid, as speculation mounts as to the automaker's future.

The automaker is due to hear from the Vanersborg District Court this Friday (16 December) if an application from its administrator to terminate its bankruptcy protection is successful.

"There is a lot of rumour and speculation here, but there is nothing we can comment on," a Saab spokesman told just-auto from Sweden. "There are discussions ongoing with Youngman and obviously it is taking far too much time, we know that. It is tough, it is very tough.

"With time, you can't negotiate, there is a clock ticking. We have to be able to pay salaries so in order to stay in reorganisation, you have to fulfil a number of obligations and therefore you need liquidity. We know time is of the essence."

Saab's precarious position comes as CEO Victor Muller is trying to secure what is thought to be a SEK5bn (US$730m) loan from an unnamed bank to pay outstanding November wages and imminent December salaries, but its immediate future looks bleak.

There is speculation Chinese manufacturer Youngman has paid November salaries, but Saab says no money has so far been deposited.

"At this point, it is getting finance in order to first of all pay salaries and get going, but these salaries have not arrived. At this point nothing has arrived."

It appears finding finance quickly has become front of mind for Saab rather than any long-term ownership deal that would be acceptable to former parent General Motors.

The Vanersborg District Court also said last Friday (9 December) that Saab administrator Guy Lofalk is reporting the automaker has incurred what it refers to as "new obligations during the reorganisation," although it is unclear what these might be.

Youngman was not immediately available for comment.