IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Antonov requesting a meeting with the Minister for Enterprise and Energy

The past weeks Saab has sought solutions to its financial difficulties both in Russia and China. Getting the Russian banker Vladimir Antonov in as part owner of Saab has been a priority of Saab Chairman Victor Muller ever since Spyker Cars (now Swedish Automobile) bought Saab more than one year ago. Almost four weeks ago the Swedish National Debt Office (NDO) announced that they had no objections to Antonov becoming part owner. In addition, the Swedish Government, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and General Motors must approve Antonov as well. All because of the agreement when Saab was sold from GM to Spyker and got a EUR 400 million loan from the EIB, a loan which the Swedish Government guarantees through the NDO. So far the Swedish Government has said that they will wait for the EIB's decision before they decide. And the EIB so far has not announced their decision to the public.

TTELA can now report that Vladimir Antonov has sent a letter to the Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Maud Olofsson, asking for a meeting. In the letter he writes that much of the things written in the press about his involvement in the Saab deal is not correct, or taken out of context. Now he wants a meeting where he can explain his motives, present his resources and plans for Saab and show just how engaged he is in Saab and the brands possibilities for the future.

Earlier it has been revealed that despite several previous attempts by Saab the last year and a half to schedule meetings with the Minister for Enterprise and Energy regarding other issues, Olofsson has dismissed nearly each and every request. And in the democracy of Sweden, Saab (and Volvo) does not dare to criticize the Government for total lack of support. Why? Because with the loans from the EIB, which are guaranteed by the Swedish Government, and by being a shareholder in the EIB, the Government more or less has the fate of the auto industry in their hands. And there should be no doubt that the Government clearly has displayed this power the past weeks, by silently watching Saab fighting for its existence instead of applying pressure where pressure should be applied.

The question now is if the Minister will show Mr Antonov the courtesy of a meeting, or if she still feels that she has more important issues to take care of than the future of the Swedish car industry.