Saab out of cash; fails to attract investors

Updated: 2011-12-20 08:04

(China Daily)

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STOCKHOLM - Saab Automobile AB filed for bankruptcy, bringing the Swedish carmaker to the brink of shutting for good after failing to find investors to rescue the 74-year-old company.

Saab, based in the southwestern town of Trollhaettan, submitted its application with a district court, Victor Muller, chief executive officer of parent company Swedish Automobile NV, said on Monday in a text message.

Saab, which General Motors Co (GM) sold to Swedish Automobile in February 2010, won protection from creditors in September and has been seeking an investor since then. Guy Lofalk, Saab's court-appointed administrator, applied on Dec 7 to end the reorganization, saying the car maker was out of money and had no realistic hope of gaining financing soon.

Saab Automobile was in discussions with Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and a Chinese bank to secure about 600 million euros ($782 million) in loans, Muller said on Dec 7.

GM said on Dec 17 that it couldn't support proposed alternatives for Saab because the options "are not meaningfully different" from previous suggestions the Detroit-based car maker had rejected on the grounds they would hurt the US company.

Saab's workforce totals about 3,600 employees, including 3,400 in Trollhaettan. Saab's vehicle sales, which peaked at 133,000 cars in 2006, have plunged in the last few years. The company sold 31,696 cars in 2010, missing a target of 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles.

Swedish Automobile, which changed its name from Spyker Cars NV in June, had planned for Saab to sell 120,000 cars and become profitable by 2012.

Saab Auto suspended production in March, when it couldn't pay suppliers, and has only occasionally restarted assembly lines since then. It has delayed wages several times and has yet to give workers pay that was due at the end of November.

Bloomberg News