The start of another rollercoaster week at Saab Automobile

Want an idea of what it’s like working at Saab Automobile right now?

  • Last week we had a failed application for reorganisation of the company. Downer.
  • Late in the week, we galvanised and employees heard that the executive team would spend the weekend preparing an appeal. Steady.
  • This morning we announced a licensing and bridge finance deal. Upper.
  • And then this afternoon comes news that two of our employee unions have filed for bankruptcy. Downer.

That’s the rollercoaster we’re on at the moment. They say a week is a long time in politics. A single day can be a long time at Saab. If you’re along for the ride – and I know there are a lot of people along for the ride with us – here’s the Swade guide to reading what’s going on in a few key areas right now.

Reorganisation

Our appeal with the Swedish courts has been lodged in Vanersborg and will be on its way from there to Gothenburg this afternoon. We have taken steps to beef up the initial application and some of those steps are now public knowledge.

We’ve provided some more insight into ‘the China process’, for example, which should hopefully give people a better ideas as to why we have a lot of confidence in our arrangements in China.

We’ve also signed an agreement this morning that will provide bridge financing through licensing (not all-out selling) of our Phoenix platform technology.

The rejection of our initial application for reorganisation last week was certainly a surprise and a blow for Saab. However, as Victor Muller pointed out last week, our executive team were ‘throwing the kitchen sink’ into our appeal to ensure that any lack of information noted in the judgement would be addressed.

Bankruptcy filing

As I write this, news stories are beginning to circulate about the fact that two of our employee unions are filing for bankruptcy today. Here’s the BBC article.

These are unfortunate headlines, however when reading them one should bear the timeline for these competing processes in mind. The unions need to act on behalf of their members, so a filing like this is not a complete surprise. However, should Saab’s appeal be a successful one and we are granted reorganisation, the bankruptcy filing would effectively be rendered moot.

We expect a response to our appeal some time later this week, whereas it’s my understanding that the bankruptcy filing would take several weeks to get a verdict. The unions know this, too, but they have an interest in acting for their members and securing payments as early as possible if the worst happens, which is a fair thing to do.

The future?

Can we predict it with any certainty? Of course not. This is has been a story with more twists than Chubby Checker.

BUT…..

  • We have strong partners on our side and their applications for approvals in China are progressing well. Today’s bridge finance agreement could be taken as a sign of the faith that Youngman place in the future of this company, and the things that they, we and Pang Da believe we can do together.
  • We have a strong portfolio of Saab vehicles. That’s the reason we’re here in the first place – and it’s only getting better.

If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you read my series from last weekend, entitled In Saab’s Corner. It takes you through some of the things we’ve got going on right now and I think you’ll find it to be encouraging reading.

Our self-belief and determination isn’t a measure of cockiness. We couldn’t be more humbled than what we are right now and we know that we have a lot of business to take care of when everything gets rolling.

Rather, our self-belief and determination are a measure of the faith we have in the preparations that we’ve made, and in the plans that we have for the future. We can do this. We can get this done. We just want the chance to do so.

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19 Comments

  1. So, I’m at a bit of a loss here — are you saying that your creditors have filed to force Saab into bankruptcy?  Seems a bit extreme.  Here they would simply file a lawsuit for their outstanding debts, the debtor and/or the courts would determine how to respond not the other way around.  Seems draconian to me for a creditor to force you into bankruptcy.

    1. Hey, Eggs.  It is two of the employee unions that took that step in order to get the salaries paid.  There is an article about it over at SU.

  2. I remain hopeful that this journey ends with the happy resolution of the current crisis, and that everyone’s hard work and dedication to the brand we all love becomes the stuff of automotive legend.
     

  3. Hello Swade,
    As long as I don’t live in Sweden I don’t know exactly how the trade laws works there, but I think that it must be a way to get money by increasing the capital of the company over a close shares offer.What I mean?Well, you know the worldwide community of SAAB cars owners – SAAB UNITED – that have done many amazing actions (like great teams use to do, just remember the ‘SAVE SAAB’ action) for SAAB in the near past. I think that the time is come now for this community members to become also part of the shareholders of this company and, this way, the company to get the bridge-founds needed to overcome this hard times, and also to avoid to get in more debt or in ‘not so good’ deals just to survive.If my math is good, even if every SAAB UNITED member buy shares in value of only €10.- each, results a sum of money that the company can get only by selling a couple of thousands of cars. And I’m sure that many of them will be happy to buy even more than this. Of course, this don’t work as a rule, but in emergency is different. By the way, this way the company can get more shareholders that really care about it and proved comitment for, and also avoid getting owned by speculators and lenders who don’t care about it at all. And that’s very important for you as company, especially now. Just ask your lawyers how can be done this.Good luck!

    1. In  the USA I can’t buy SAAB shares sadly , I tryed and it’s thru a 3rd party who is unstabe to invest in it’s not putting a dime to SAAB , I’t called  ” pink list shares “

    2. Radu, the company could never endorse such an idea, as kind as it is for people to think of it.  We have to do things as a regular business would, attracting capital via the share market based on investors assessments of our business.

      A similar idea came up when GM put Saab up for sale a few years ago.  Rescue-Saab was born and thousands of people signed up.  Unfortunately, the amount of money actually pledged for donation was (if I recall correctly) only around 4mil.  This tends to be the way these things go.  Rescue-Saab ended up being incredibly important, but not for money raising.  It put together a list of people who actively wanted to help and that list was very important in terms of circulating accurate information (in addition to sites like Saabs United and others, of course).

  4. Dear Swade, as you told when you were a passenger in the 9-5 XWD test drive “I’m near to paint the dash!”, I like rollercoasters, but this one is lasting a little too much! 🙂

    Anyway, once more and forever,  
    Griffin UP!  🙂
     

  5. All this talk about rollercoasters reminds me of the scene from the Ron Howard movie Parenthood where Steve Martin’s character is stressed out over the rollercoaster ride of parenthood, and the grandmother provides some perspective. 

    Griffin up! And hold on!

  6. I am following the roller-caster day by day. Rather thrilling I must say!
    The existence of Saab is a victory for independent thinking. Saab- and the free thought – : Keep on going !!!

  7. I didn’t expect the roller-coaster ride to be so long; at times it has been running as a ghost train, in the really scary parts of the park, and it seems, as r0mac said, like they have been extending it during the ride. Reminds me about the sales process and as some said then “you can’t make that up”; unbelievable. I still have my seat belt on. 🙂 happy, knowing that you all do a great work.

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