Saab output suspended again over supplier payments
STOCKHOLM -- Production at Saab stopped for a second day on Wednesday as the money-losing automaker faces payment problems with its suppliers.
Saab said it will start production again on Thursday and it has solved a problem over deliveries and payment with a key supplier.
Saab spokesman Eric Geers said the company had had fruitful talks with transport firm Schenker, which would start deliveries to Saab again and allow production to resume.
Sweden's FKG association of car industry suppliers said some Saab suppliers are not getting paid. "The information that we got at the end of last week was that they (suppliers) have not been paid by Saab," FKG chief executive Svenake Berglie told public radio.
He said suppliers with which he had spoken, which he said were among the bigger ones, were very angry.
Saab owner Spyker Cars N.V. has said Saab has no short-term funding issues.
The Web site of the newspaper of the town of Trolhattan in western Sweden, where Saab is based, said the production halt on Wednesday came in mid-morning, again due to a lack of supplies. Production was stopped for a few hours on Tuesday.
The stoppages create fresh uncertainty over Saab, whose long-serving CEO Jan-Ake Jonsson unexpectedly announced his retirement last week.
Focus on Russian businessman
Spyker said it was working to find solutions, one of which could be the return as a shareholder of Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov and his Convers Group.
"Saab Automobile has sufficient means to meet its immediate liquidity needs from existing and available sources," Spyker said in a statement.
The main plan for boosting Spyker-Saab's finances is now focused on Antonov, who owns a bank in Lithuania and Latvia and says on his Web site, www.vladimirantonov.com, that his Convers Group Management company has $7 billion of assets under management.
Antonov has been a long-time business partner of Spyker CEO Victor Muller and used to have a near 30 percent stake in Spyker. Spyker has already sold its sports car division to Antonov and the Russian said last week he would like to return to a 30 percent shareholding in Spyker-Saab.
He has said he was forced out of the original deal for Spyker to buy Saab from General Motors Co. after being suspected of being connected with organized crime.
He has said investigations have cleared him and that GM is ready to let him back as a shareholder.
Spyker needs a long-term strategic investor to restore Saab's fortunes, analysts say. On March 25, Spyker reported a 2010 net loss of 218 million euros ($309 million) and said it also would report a loss in 2011. Spyker said it expects to generate a profit in 2012.
Spyker said last week it is confident that Saab's sales momentum of 2010 would "continue to build throughout 2011 and 2012," but did not reiterate its forecast for Saab sales to reach 80,000 this year and 120,000 in 2012.
Saab sold 31,696 cars in 2010, up 15 percent from the year before.
Source: ReutersContact Automotive News