Saab 'independent within six months'
20 February 2009

Saab is aiming to become “fully independent” this year, and it could achieve its goal within the next six months. But in order to do so it will need to declare itself bankrupt.

Following a meeting yesterday with Swedish unions, Saab managing director Jan Ake Jonnson said, “We explored, and will continue to explore, all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined that a formal reorganisation would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment.”

Owner General Motors wants to divest itself of the Swedish car firm, and Saab has filed for what it describes as “reorganisation under a self-managed Swedish legal process”.

This will in effect mean Saab entering into bankruptcy protection, when the company is placed in administration but is protected from its creditors. By doing this Saab will gain time needed to reorganise itself and come up with a credible plan for the future.

This will involve moving design, engineering and manufacturing of its cars to Sweden, although GM may have to remain involved because Saab’s two all-new models, the 9-5 and 9-4X, use GM technology.

However, GM intends to pull funding for Saab, and the Swedes say they are looking for backing for the restructured company.

Saab will present its proposals to its creditors within three weeks of applying for the reorganisation with the Swedish courts. If granted, the restructuring will take around three months.

Dan Stevens

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