Saab CEO Victor Muller has promised that the company’s chiefs will “never give up in our fight for a healthy and profitable Saab” despite more uncertainty over the company’s future.
Yesterday the car company learned that the administrator in charge of its affairs, Guy Lofalk, is applying to the Swedish courts for a termination of the reorganisation process. That process is currently protecting Saab from its creditors to give it time to seek new investment, but Lofalk does not have confidence that the funding is sufficient to continue reorganisation.
In a counter-move, Saab is applying to have Lofalk removed as its administrator. The Swedish manufacturer has also opened negotiations with American equity firm North Street Capital because it has doubts over the arrival of more funds from two prospective Chinese investors, Pang Da and Youngman.
Muller, speaking in an interview with Sweden’s Radio P4 West, said he believes Lofalk’s meetings with Pang Da and Youngman in China last weekend have prompted the companies to change tack and seek a complete takeover of Saab rather than the planned 50 per cent ownership deal.
“In our view Lofalk has overstepped all possible areas of his mandate as administrator,” Muller said. “He is basically focused on a change of ownership of Saab and not on the reorganisation itself, which is what he was appointed to do by the court.”
Saab had an agreement in place with Youngman for some short-term funding, and although the Swedish firm had received some of the cash, it began to have doubts that further instalments were going to arrive in a timely manner.
“We have had some very clear indications that the Chinese investors were not going to fund [Saab] as they agreed last week in writing. Last weekend Lofalk went to Beijing to meet with both Pang Da and Youngman. Clearly [those meetings] caused them to change their minds and go for an effort to make another kind of deal. That is unacceptable,” said Muller.
He also reiterated that going bankrupt is not an option for Saab: “Saab has a completely prepared plan on how to exit the reorganisation in an orderly fashion by paying all of its creditors in full [and] a business plan which is very strong.”
“The only missing link between today and exiting reorganisation within an deal with our creditors was reaching of agreement with [Chinese agency] NDRC for the approval of the Chinese parties. I would say we were days away from that but now it seems we are a little bit further away today than we were a week ago.