NEW YORK -- Saab Chairman Victor Muller is hoping to receive as early as this week a decision from the European Investment Bank that will keep Saab Automotive AG in business.
Saab's ability to resume production depends on the bank's willingness to give up the Swedish company's real estate as collateral.
The automaker wants Russian investor Vladimir Antonov to purchase the buildings, equipment and real estate for about 30 million euros ($43.6 million) and lease those assets back to the car company.
"We're waiting for the white smoke from the European Investment Bank," Muller said in an interview today on the sidelines of the New York auto show.
Saab said it would use the 30 million euros to pay off suppliers who have refused to deliver parts because of inadequate payments from the automaker. Assembly has been suspended since the end of March.
The snag is that the automaker's buildings, equipment and real estate are pledged as collateral for a 400 million-euro line of credit from the European Investment Bank.
The Swedish government, which has guaranteed the loans to Saab, has said it would approve the transfer of collateral and the sale to Antonov -- and will continue to guarantee the loan.
Muller said he does not know when the bank will decide if it will accept the deal. But, "we should have known about the loan decision" by now, he said.
Muller said it would take a week to resume production once the 30 million euros are received.
Despite the shutdown, the automaker has not changed its break-even point of 80,000 vehicles. But Muller said it is impossible to determine how the shut-down may affect sales this year.