With a proposed rescue plan still stalled, struggling Swedish automaker Saab’s headquarters assembly plant remains shuttered for the third week, raising questions about its long-term prospects.
The European Investment Bank, which provided the loan permitting Dutch-based Spyker Cars to buy Saab last year from General Motors, has so far refused to approve a deal that would involve the sale of Saab’s factory and other assets to a Russian businessman. A one-time Spyker partner, Vladimir Antonov would then lease those assets back to the Swedes.
That has sent Saab scrambling to line up other options, the company announced in a release that states, “Spyker and Saab Automobile continue to work on securing additional funding. To that end Spyker and Saab Automobile are negotiating equity and debt financing and/or technology licensing with various strategic partners, including various Chinese car manufacturers. No commitments have been received to date.”
There have also been reports that Saab may turn to former owner General Motors for assistance.
The crisis was touched off, on March 29, when several suppliers demanded immediate payment of overdue bills before they would unload trucks delivering parts needed for the Trollhattan assembly line. The suppliers briefly agreed to work with Saab but the boycott resumed a few days later. The closure of the factory, located next to Saab’s Swedish headquarters, is now in its third week.