Sale of Saab plant to investment firm nears
Over the past few months, Saab and parent company Swedish Automobiles (formerly Spyker Cars) have been looking for an investor interested in purchasing their Trollhattan production facility with the intention of leasing it back to the automaker. This would bring in a large sum of money to the struggling Saab brand for the sale of the plant followed by a possibility of a “friendly” lease agreement from the new owner until the company gets back on its feet. The first name mentioned in the direction of selling the plant was Russian investor Vladimir Antonov but with questions over his past and the fact that his involvement with Saab was previously rejected by multiple parties, he seemed to fade into the shadows. In his place, Swedish investment reality firm Hemfosa became the new name and according to Reuters, Hemfosa is ready to pull the trigger and buy the Trollhattan production facility.
This is fantastic news for Saab and this infusion of cash could be exactly what they need to pay their hoards of angry suppliers but much like everything else with the Saab saga – there are sticking points. First, Hemfosa is waiting on the ok from the European Investment Bank along with some money from new Chinese investors Youngman and Pang Da. Second, Hemfosa seems to be debating the value of the factory as the production facility with a thriving company building cars is clearly worth more than a facility where the car company has gone out of business, leaving the plant dormant. Once these issues are addressed, Hemfosa could pay in the area of 300 million Swedish Krona but a representative of the real estate company stated that they may not be interested if the company is headed out of business.
Should Hemfosa pull the trigger and pay in the area of 300 million Krona, it still may not be enough money to pay all of the angry, unpaid suppliers who are currently withholding components and preventing new production. Reports suggest that Saab owes its creditors in the area of 300-500 million Krona so the automaker would, in theory, need more money than what they will get from the sale of the Trollhattan facility. This means that Saab would still be in the hole but the company is currently waiting on the most recent installment of the $566 million dollar loan coming from the European Investment Bank. If Saab can procure the money from the sale of the Trollhattan plant along with the next installation of the EIB loan, the automaker may be able to pay enough suppliers to get production back under way.
The other problem is that Saab has also not been paying their autoworker’s union so even if the company can get their hands on components to build vehicles, they have an unpaid workforce who wants their money as well. Luckily, an unnamed Chinese company recently purchased 582 vehicles from Saab, bringing in 13 million Euros – enough to pay the amount owed to the labor union. This seemingly resolved the labor issues but it didn’t do it quickly enough as the company’s union members recently resigned from the Saab board of directors.