Saab in Negotiations with Suppliers over Payment Disputes

On Wednesday, Spyker Cars N.V. announced that finances for its Saab division are “sufficient”. The announcement followed a brief production shutdown as Saab negotiated payment schedules with suppliers and last week’s sudden and unexpected retirement of the company’s long-time CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson.

In a statement the Swedish automaker said it has “sufficient means to meet its immediate liquidity needs from existing and available sources.” The statement went on to say, “Saab Automobile continues to work on longer-term solutions to further strengthen its financial position and improve its capital structure.”

The company said that a number of suppliers had withheld shipments while they negotiated their payment terms with Saab.

According to the statement, “Saab Automobile expects to resolve these issues in the short term, also to prevent any further disruptions in supply.”

Spyker CEO and Saab chairman Victor Muller said that production at Saab’s Trollhattan plant was suspended for a couple of hours on Tuesday when one of its transportation suppliers was demanding better pay.

Sweden’s FKG association of auto industry suppliers confirmed that some of Saab’s suppliers have been unhappy with the automaker’s payment record. In an interview with public radio, FKG’s CEO Svenake Berglie said, “The information that we got at the end of last week was that they (suppliers) have not been paid by Saab.” He went on to say that some of the larger suppliers he had spoken with were very angry about the situation.

One of Saab’s advertising agencies, Lowe Brindfors, will reportedly sever their relationship with Saab and claims that they have not been paid since last December.

A spokesman for Saab said the company is currently involved in discussions with its suppliers, including Lowe Brindfors.

Concerns about whether or not Saab can achieve its production targets and return to profitability have persisted ever since General Motors Company sold the company to Spyker last year.

Spyker has sold its sportscar division to Russian financier Vladimir Antonov, who has expressed an interest in becoming a shareholder in Saab. GM prohibited Antonov from participating in the purchase of Saab but has now prepared to allow him to become a shareholder in the company. The Swedish government has also reportedly guaranteed a 400 million euro EIB loan for the struggling automaker.

Last Friday, Spyker reported a net loss of 218 million euros in 2010, and analysts expect the company to post a loss for 2011. Spyker expects to become profitable in 2012.

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