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Saab Lines Up $40 Mil Deal to Pay Down Debt

Maker hoping it can soon re-start idled assembly plant.

by on Jun.28, 2011

Saab's factory could soon be running again - or so the automaker now hopes.

The cash-starved Swedish automaker Saab continues lining up funding that it hopes will permit it to pay off mounting debts and re-start its idled assembly plant.

A day after revealing that an unnamed Chinese company will acquire $18.4 million worth of Saab vehicles, the maker says it has a tentative leaseback deal in place to sell a majority stake in its Saab Automobile Property unit, which owns the Trollhattan plant and additional assets.  The deal, worth an estimated $40 million, could help Saab not only meet the payroll it missed last week but also cover unpaid bills claimed by its parts suppliers.

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Those vendors have been boycotting Saab since March, compounding the company’s already severe financial problems.

The latest deal would transfer a 50.1% stake in Saab Automobile Property to the Swedish real estate company, Hemfosa.  Saab’s parent, Swedish Automobile, would then sign a 15-year agreement to lease the Trollhattan plant and other facilities.  Hemfosa will also have the right to increase its stake in the property company by buying $7 million worth of shares.

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Saab Lines Up New Chinese Partner

Will deal finally allow Saab to reopen its assembly plant?

by on May.16, 2011

A partially-assembled 9-5 body sits on the currently idled Saab Trollhattan assembly plant.

Cash-short carmaker Saab has lined up a new white knight, it claims, a week after an earlier deal with China’s Hawtai Automotive Group unexpectedly collapsed.

The new deal pairs Saab with Pang Da Automobile, a major Chinese dealership chain, and could be worth more than $150 million to the Swedish maker, which has been struggling to reopen its headquarters assembly plant.  That factory was idled on March 29 when key suppliers began a boycott demanding Saab cover unpaid bills.

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As part of the new partnership Pang Da will take a 24% stake in Saab – compared to the 29.9% equity holdings Hawtai had negotiated.  Pang Da will pay about $100 million for its stake, then another $45 million for vehicles that will be sold through its network of 1,100 dealerships across China.  It has also agreed to another $23 million purchase of Saab products within 30 days.

For the Swedish maker, the deal, “will secure Saab automobile’s medium term funding,” said Spyker Cars, Saab’s parent company, in a statement.

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Saab Shutdown Drags On, Threaten Brand’s Survival

Suppliers claim Swedish maker owes millions.

by on Apr.08, 2011

The Saab 9-5 Aero at the maker's plant in Trollhattan, which has been idled by suppliers demanding payment.

The shutdown of Saab’s main assembly plant, at its Trollhattan, Sweden headquarters, could drag on for some time as the maker struggles to raise additional cash to help cover what parts suppliers claim are millions of dollars in unpaid bills.

The maker’s parent, Dutch-based Spyker Cars, nonetheless insists that Saab is not nearing a collapse.  The maker only emerged for near-insolvency a year ago, after Spyker purchased the failing brand and its assets from General Motors.

A spokesperson for the automaker, based several hours from capital city Stockholm, said Saab officials are “working hard” to find a solution, but also warned “could” stretch on for several days.

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Following the Geneva Motor Show, in March, Saab Chairman Victor Muller stated the company still has about $200 million of the money left from a 2010 European Investment Bank loan.  But he also said Spyker would be seeking to raise additional capital as quickly as possible.

Saab was hit with a brief production halt last week when suppliers temporarily halted deliveries.  Saab appeared to have addressed that problem, but the confrontation resumed this week, and the latest production halt is now in its fourth day.

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Saab Slammed By 2nd Supplier-led shutdown

by on Apr.06, 2011

A Saab 9-5 on the Trollhattan assembly line.

A “minor glitch” has led to the second shutdown of Saab’s headquarters plant, in Trollhattan, Sweden, in barely a week – suppliers refusing to provide critical parts because, they claim, they haven’t been paid.

Though Saab officials insists they have enough ongoing money to keep going through at least 2012, the latest crisis raises new concerns about the future of the struggling carmaker – which was purchased from General Motors in early 2010.

“We are trying to reach a solution with the suppliers,” asserted Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs, industry sources fear the situation is only growing worse.

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Saab’s Trollhattan plant was briefly shuttered last week but it initially appeared the maker was able to resolve what Chairman Victor Muller described as a “minor glitch” and make the necessary payments.

Though Muller last month told TheDetroitBureau.com Saab had more than $200 million remaining from the loan provided by the European Investment Bank, he also indicated the Swedish company was looking for new investors.  That was one reason why parent Spyker Cars sold off its Dutch-based sports car manufacturing operations.

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Saab Re-Starts Plant After Unpaid Suppliers Temporarily Halt Deliveries

Shutdown hints at other challenges facing Swedish maker.

by on Mar.30, 2011

Production of the Saab 9-5 was temporarily halted over unpaid parts bills.

Saab assembly operations in Trollhattan, Sweden got back to normal – more or less – this morning, following a day long shutdown triggered by suppliers who refused to deliver parts pending payment of outstanding bills.

Company officials insist they are working to “resolve these issues,” but there is no question the Swedish maker is struggling in its attempt to rebuild itself after nearly shutting down permanently last year.

Operations at the facility, which produces Saab’s flagship 9-5 sedan, ground to a halt, yesterday, when a number of suppliers refused to deliver more parts until they were paid.  It’s unclear precisely what arrangements were made to get those vendors to restock the plant and let it reopen this morning.

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But a statement from Saab says it “expects to resolve these issues in the short-term.”

The brief shutdown is the latest twist in an ongoing saga of a company that has long struggled for survival.  Going into its 2009 bankruptcy, former owner General Motors Corp. announced plans to sell or close Saab – while eventually also shutting down its Saturn, Hummer and Pontiac brands.  Initially, with no buyer coming through with the necessary deal, GM began shutting Saab down.

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