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.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Suppliers losing patience as Saab's production still suspended

Production at Saab is still suspended awaiting stable supply of parts and materials. But to secure a stable supply, Saab probably needs more short-term funding.

A few days ago we got the news that the Swedish real estate company Hemfose was interested in buying Saab's property. A sale that could improve Saab short-term funding. This property sale was planned already back in April, but then with the Russian banker Vladimir Antonov as buyer. This sale was stopped by the European Investment Bank. Now Swedish media reports that Antonov no longer wants to buy the property. He is reportedly fed up with the EIB and its reluctance.

Lars Carlström, who is Vladimir Antonovs spokesman in Sweden, told Dagens Industri "It's been a very slow decision-process about Vladimir Antonov, and therefore we have chosen to refrain from further attempts to purchase the property".

Antonov still wants to invest and become a part owner in Saab, but due to the EIB's reluctance towards him, Saab's loans with the EIB first need to be transferred over to commercial banks not politically managed like the EIB. Then Antonov can buy into Saab without needing political approval.

While the production at Saab is still suspended, news come over the wire that the foreign suppliers are starting to lose their patience with Saab. Lars Holmqvist, CEO of Clepa which is a European association of suppliers, tells Dagens Industri that the foreign suppliers "have probably less sentimental feelings for Saab compared to many Swedish companies that have grown up with Saab. Many also have a personal connection by driving the Saab cars. The foreign sub-contractors are probably tougher".

According to Holmqvist, the patience of the European suppliers are running out "partly because of many empty promises of volumes that never came true and partly due to lack of information".

But all news reports are not negative. Dagens Industri also tells us that Mikael Wickelgren, teacher of business administration at the college in Skövde, thinks that the deal with Youngman and Pang Da has a good chance of getting all necessary approvals as opposed to the Hawtai deal which collapsed after just ten days.

"The Hawtai deal was done incredibly fast. Now this new deal has not been done in the same furious pace and I guess that they have talked with the appropriate authorities to inquire about some kind of advance notice given how the Hawtai deal went," Wickelgren tells Dagens Industri.