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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saab and the suppliers

As reported here the last couple of weeks, Saab's debt to suppliers is piling up at Sweden's debt enforcement agency, Kronofogden, and there's also been some reports that foreign suppliers have considered filing for bankruptcy in Saab.

According to TTELA and DI, the debts enforcement agency has so far received SEK 42 million of debt to be collected. But before the agency can start to look for money to cover these debts, Saab will be given a chance to pay the debt voluntarily. Saab gets 16 days to pay. Yesterday was the last day for Saab to pay two of these debts. One amounting to SEK 144,000 to Kongsberg Automotive and one of SEK 224,000 to Infotiv. If Saab had not paid these debts yesterday at the latest, the debt enforcement agency will today start to look at Saab's assets and possibly freeze assets and thus secure money to cover the debts. The first place to look is into Saab's bank accounts. Another SEK 4 million in debt will fall due during this week and if it has not been paid in time, the debt enforcement agency will also try to secure this money by freezing assets.

In addition to the SEK 42 million, the agency has also received other debts that so far has not proceeded to the collection phase. Thursday last week for instance, the supplier IAC reported another SEK 42 million, which makes Saab's debt to IAC which has been reported to the debt enforcement agency a total of SEK 73 million.

According to Saab, the company is in contact with the debt enforcement agency concerning the process and the course of events.

But these debts are of course just the tip of the iceberg. The total debt is assumed to be at least SEK 1 billion.

Yesterday Saab's CEO Victor Muller spoke with both the FKG - Association of Swedish Automobile Suppliers and CLEPA - the European Association of Automotive Suppliers. The message was clear: No suppliers will be favored over another.

"One important answer I got from Victor Muller and even Saab is that no one supplier is favored over another and I believe what he said. If there was uncertainty on that point, a war could have broken out. And there is no supplier that has something to gain on a Saab bankruptcy, the assets would still be tied to others in case of a bankruptcy,"  Lars Holmqvist, head of CLEPA told TTELA.

When asked if any suppliers still consider filing for bankruptcy in Saab, Holmqvist said:

"I don't know, but I would think that they don't."

Holmqvist also said that Victor Muller seemed convinced that the production would restart.

"Yes, he is completely convinced. And of course faith can move mountains, even if this is a very large mountain," Holmqvist said.