When the EIB granted the massive loan to Saab and Swedish Automobiles (formerly Spyker), one of the stipulations was that young Russian billionaire Vladimir Antonov not be granted any ownership of the Saab brand. This has stood in Antonov’s way a few times along the long, winding road that has been the last year for Saab but as the company has worked to find investors and things have gotten progressively worse; Saab has kept the hope alive that they could find a way to get Antonov involved. More importantly, Saab needs to get ahold of Antonov’s money if they want to survive.
Saab originally discussed the idea of Antonov buying the Trollhattan production facility but in late June, the plant was instead sold to Swedish investment consortium is led by Hemfosa Fastigheter. When combined with the fact that the investment group is offering Saab free rent for the next year, the inflow of cash from the sale of the plant was expected to help jump start production. Unfortunately, with the massive amount of debt owed to suppliers and workers (now including management), Saab continued to fail to restart production and at this point there is still no end in sight. The company has stated the production is slated to start back up at the end of August but with the problems piling up each day and their “life line” in Antonov seemingly cut by the EIB – is Saab ever going to get back on their feet?
It seems that Saab may be running out of options as they have partnered with two Chinese firms, accepted a large sum of money from a hedge fund group and sold their plant to raise funds but it seems that those funds have proven to be insufficient. Now, if the company wants to get Antonov involved, they will have to first find some way to repay the European Investment Bank; most likely through refinancing. The problem is that it is only going to get tougher for the struggling Swedish automaker to find creditors willing to hand them money as the only news about the company is bad news.
Source: Automotive News
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