End of the Road for SAAB as Owners “Swedish Automobile” File For Bankruptcy
Well it’s a sad day when any business finds it can’t keep trading and is forced to throw the towel in and go bankrupt and that’s just what’s happened for car maker SAAB.
After almost 2 years of fighting to secure the investment it needed to survive, the owners of Saab who are Swedish Automobile have announced that Saab Automobile, Saab Automobile Tools, and Saab Powertrain has filed for bankruptcy with the district court in Vänersborg, Sweden.
Seems one of the Chinese investors who have been keeping the company afloat has been forced to pull out as General Motors (who supply SAAB with engines and technology) had been objecting to the sale of the company and without that taking place Chinese investor “Youngman” would be unable to reorganise the company, so couldn’t continue funding it.
The board of Saab Automobile made the decision that without the funding they would be insolvent, so filing for bankruptcy would ultimately be in the best interest of its creditors. It’s not expected that the court will object and receivers should be appointed on 19th December 2011.
So whats this really all about? GM which sold Saab in February 2010 provide the technology to Saab and they say the proposed deal was not significantly different to previous proposals and could be detrimental to its shareholders. As a result, GM has refused to agree to the necessary technology licence transfers to the Chinese investors.
One has to wonder if this is just a case of US giant General Motors not wanting the Chinese to get its hands on the GM technology it heavily invested in during its ownership of Saab, then going on to beat them at their own game at a later date. I can’t help but see a “protectionist” policy being employed here, to safeguard GM in the states, even if it does take around 3,600 European jobs with it and bring to an end an iconic brand.
It was April 2011 that the last time anything was built at Saabs Trollhättan factory as disputes with component suppliers over unpaid bills kept the production lines at a halt and even emergency cash injections from potential investors failed to get things moving.
Saabs parent company Swedish Automobile don’t expect to get anything for its shares in Saab Automobile and are going to write off their interest in Saab Automobile completely.
So looks like curtains for Saab I guess, unless of course, this is just what some people want and one might well see a flurry of interest by potential new owners once they feel they can nick the company for a song, without taking over any of the debts. Be interesting to see!
Anyway, for Saab GB who are a subsidiary of Swedish Automobile and hold the rights to sell both cars and parts within the UK, it’s already in big trouble, having filed for bankruptcy itself on November 29th 2011 and having no new cars to sell.