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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On retirements and losses

Yesterday was a messy day. Jan Åke Jonsson retiring, Spyker Cars losing SEK 1.3 billion in 2010 and needing more capital in 2011, and the media suddenly remembering three days old news that the new CFO changed his mind and never started in his new job at Saab.

Jan Åke Jonsson retiring
Yes, Jan Åke Jonsson will retire as CEO in May. But would Jan Åke Jonsson, like some Swedish media speculate, leave Saab if he thinks the whole company is going down the drain? Would he use three years working day and night to save Saab and now leave because he thinks the company can't be saved anymore? I don't thinks so and  Jan Åke Jonsson says it ain't so. On the contrary, Jan Åke Jonsson said repeatedly yesterday that he sees the company being profitable in 2012, just like the business plan says. And Saab is in much better condition now than one year ago. The debt is much smaller and the world economy is in a much better shape. "Saving" Saab again will be much easier this time around.
And I almost forgot, Jan Åke Jonsson has said that he started discussing his retirement with Victor Muller in October of last year. So this is no sudden decision. And Jan Åke Jonsson and Victor Muller's relationship has been good from the start and still is. There is no negativity between them.


Spyker Cars losing money and needing more money
Yes, Spyker Cars lost lots of money in 2010, but they didn't lose more money than the business plan said they would. With a hard focus on cost cutting, Saab now has a cost base that is very low and that most likely will bring Saab and Spyker Cars into profitability in 2012. So in a sense Saab is actually delivering with accordance to the business plan. Of course the sore point is the number of cars sold. This number needs to increase and fast. Saab needs cash flow and car sales means cash flow.

Over to needing more money. Vladimir Antonov has said in media that he thinks Spyker Cars needs more money this year, and it turns out that he may have been right. Yesterday Victor Muller said that Saab may need more money this year. That's a hard fact. Muller said that issuing new shares isn't necessarily the only and best way to raise money. He also said that Saab could decide to share the new technology with other parties and raise money that way. Time will tell if issuing shares or selling technology is the solution.

The new CFO jumping ship
After four days of silence, Nils-Johan Andersson yesterday told the press that his decision not to start at Saab had nothing to do with Jan Åke Jonsson's retirement or Saab not performing as expected. On the contrary, he said that he knew about Jan Åke Jonsson's retirement already in January and he also said that he had full insight into the business plan and how Saab is performing. So it turns out that he was just very undecided, and some would say unprofessional, and in the end he put Saab in a tricky position.

So there you have it. Once again Swedish media have guessed, lied, speculated and generally being as rotten as they can be. Everything is normal in the Swedish media.