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, October 27, 2011

Another important day in the Saab saga

Today can be another of those important and decisive days for Saab. By 13:00 today the company needs to respond to the court with its view on the request from the reconstruction administrator to stop the reconstruction. And Saab probably needs to respond with more than plans and promises from companies interested in investing.

Latest news from TTELA is that Saab has asked for time to give its response. It is not known when the reponse will be given to the court. But the court said that it will take all information delivered to the court up to the court makes its decision into consideration.

Saab and Swedish Automobile have negotiated intensly the past days with presumably Youngman and Pang Da in Stockhom and these negotiations are still ongoing. But in the saga of Saab it would be naive to exclude the possibility of other investors too.

Eric Geers, Executive Director Communication at Saab, yesterday said that the negotiations going on in Stockholm would be very important to Saab's response.

"Of course the things going on in Stockholm will influence how our response to the court will look like and even other issues," Geers told TTELA.

My personal opinion is that there is little chance that the court will allow the reconstruction to continue. Remember that the Vänersborg District Court first denied Saab the reconstruction, and when Saab appealed, the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden approved the reconstruction but the ruling was not unanimous. And now the reconstruction administrator has requested that the reconstruction is stopped due cash shortage and no mid- or long-term funding. The request will be handled by Vänersborg District Court and according to Dagens Industri by three new judges since the three judges which rejected the reconstruction application in September will step aside.

One possibility is that reconstruction administrator Lofalk withdraws the request. But for that to happen I guess Saab must either have raised a lot of money the past days or Swedish Automobile must have agreed to sell Saab and all stakeholders given their approval. But how likely is that happening in just three or four days?

In other words, the reconstruction probably ends and Saab willl once again face its creditors and bankruptcy threats. But if that happens, it does not mean the end of Saab. It only means that there will be even less time to find investors and raise money.

In additon to this, Saab also needs to pay its employees the October wages. The Västra Götaland County Administrative Board (länsstyrelsen) yesterday said in a statement that the money covering wages from October 1 to October 21 had been made available to the reconstruction administrator and Saab. Saab needs to find the money to cover the remaining 10 days of October.  But so far the employees have not been paid. If the employees aren't paid within reasonable time, we can expect new bankruptcy filings from the labor unions once Saab's reconstruction ends.

Update: Saab says in its communication to the employees that the wages will be paid next week at the earliest. And this will only include the the part covered by the wage guarantee