A complex deal that would sell Saab assets to a Russian businessman then lease them back to the Swedish company could help save the cash-strapped automaker.
Saab Automobile has been frantically searching for new sources of revenue in recent days as it has burned through much of the funds it raised through a loan from the European Investment Bank, or EIB, last year. The carmaker’s main assembly plant, in Trollhattan, has been shuttered several times because suppliers have refused to deliver much needed parts citing millions of dollars in unpaid bills.
The white knight is Vladimir Antonov, a one-time investor in Spyker Cars, the Dutch-based company that purchased Saab from General Motors in early 2010. Antonov would provide a financial lifeline by purchasing key assets and then leasing them back to Saab. The deal must still be authorized by the Swedish government, which backed Saab’s loan from the EIB.
Antonov was forced out of Spyker by GM, in late 2009. The U.S. maker refused to negotiate with the Dutch company while the oligarch was one of its investors. But Antonov stepped back in, earlier this year, when Spyker sold him its Dutch-based sports car operations.