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Spyker Sues GM for $3 Billion

Claims maker blocked deals that would have saved Saab.

by on Aug.06, 2012

GM effectively forced Saab to liquidate when it refused to sell intellectual property for vehicles like the 9-5 sedan to a new owner.

This story has been updated to reflect GM’s comments on the Spyker lawsuit.

General Motors is facing a $3 billion lawsuit filed by the small Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker Cars NV – which claims the U.S. maker improperly blocked its efforts to save Sweden’s now-bankrupt Saab Automobile.

Spyker purchased Saab in early 2010 from General Motors after the American carmaker decided to sell or shutter the struggling Swedish company.  But it quickly became apparent that Spyker didn’t have the cash needed to see the venture through.  It made a series of attempts to save or sell Saab, but was forced to liquidate the firm last year.

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Spyker – which briefly changed its name to Swedish Cars, says GM blocked its rescue effort to avoid the possibility of facing additional competition in China – where General Motors is the largest manufacturer.

“We tirelessly worked to save Saab Automobile until GM destroyed those efforts and deliberately drove Saab Automobile into bankruptcy,” says Spyker CEO Victor Muller.  The Dutch entrepreneur insists, “We owe it to our stakeholders and ourselves that justice is done.”


Saab Leaving Most Debts Unpaid

Only a select few likely to get cash back.

by on Apr.12, 2012

Among the assets of the now insolvent Saab: the Phoenix Concept car, (Photo by Len Katz).

The factory in Trollhattan stands idle but the bookkeepers and bankruptcy attorneys have been keeping busy in recent weeks trying to tally up the debts owed by the now-insolvent Saab Automobile and compare that to the company’s few remaining assets.

The math doesn’t work out well for those Saab owed money to.  The final balance sheet shows assets of $532 million (3.6 billion Swedish kronor) but debts of $1.9 billion (13 billion kronor).  It is possible that the tally will look more favorable, however, if the trustees overseeing Saab’s bankruptcy are able to find a buyer – with as many as seven bidders reportedly looking closely at the company.


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Nonetheless, the bottom line isn’t a good one: a lot of folks looking to recover money from the doomed maker are likely to wind up with nothing.  Among those least likely to come out whole are Saab’s Swedish employees.  They actually pressed for the bankruptcy filing in hopes of recovering months of back pay.  Those workers are owed $89 million.


Saab Looks for Solution to GM Objections

Court-appointed administrator says negotiators are still working to save automaker.

by on Nov.09, 2011

Another day, another desperate attempt by Saab owner Swedish Automobile to save the tiny Swedish automaker.

Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told Reuters that it would have to go back to the drawing board after General Motors rejected its proposed rescue plan where it would be sold to Chinese investors Pang Da and Youngman Lotus.

Court-appointed administrator Guy Lofalk told Reuters that GM’s decision may just be one bump in the road as negotiators try to find a solution to save the automaker.

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GM owns preference shares of Saab and supplies the automaker with powertrains as well as the Saab 9-4x crossover that it builds alongside the Cadillac SRX in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. The automaker offered to continue to supply Saab if the company paid $500 million to the Detroit automaker.

“I had warned the Chinese that GM would have a mega problem with any other deal other than the original 54 percent stake in Swedish Automobile. Unfortunately, I was right,” Muller told Automotive News. Muller engineered the purchase of Saab from GM in 2009 and remains an investor in Swedish Automobile.


Saab Files for Voluntary Reorganization

"We're not trying to pay pennies on the dollar."

by on Sep.07, 2011

Saab hopes to re-open its plants even while under a court-ordered reorganization.

Facing increasing pressures over unpaid bills Swedish Automobile, the parent of cash-starved Saab, has filed for voluntary reorganization under Swedish law.  The move, a last-ditch attempt to buy time while it raises much-needed funds, is an alternative to a bankruptcy filing that might have led to the collapse of the troubled carmaker.

Effectively a self-managed reorganization, the move is aimed at working out plans to pay worker salaries as well as bills owed Saab suppliers and other vendors.  A senior company official said the 90-day process could also see Saab resume production at its headquarters assembly plant in Trollhattan, Sweden.  That factory has been idled since it was struck by a supplier boycott in late March.

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“This gives us some stability” while efforts are underway to raise some desperately needed cash, Tim Colbeck, President and COO of Saab Cars North America, or SCNA said in an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.  The reorganization, he noted, only affects Swedish Automobile and some of its key subsidiaries in Sweden.  Sales operations in North America and the U.K., among others, are not directly impacted.