The Saab factory in Trollhättan. Photo: Erik Abel/Scanpix
SAAB IN CRISIS

Reinfeldt "worried" about Saab

Gothenburg Post motor correspondent Stephan Lövgren
6:10 min

Sweden's prime minister Fredrick Reinfeldt told the media this afternoon that he was "worried" about the future of saab Autos following the news that a rescue deal with Chinese Hawtai Motor group had collasped.

The future of the Swedish based automaker is once again in question just a week after the two companies announced a US$205 million investment deal that would have given Hawtai a substantial stake in Saab in return for capital needed to re-start production lines that have stood idle off and on over the last several months. 

However Reinfeldt said that the Swedish state would not step in to rescue Saab.

"It naturally raises concern that the partners couldn't get all the way to a definitive agreement," Reinfeldt AFP in the western city of Gothenburg, near Saab's factory in Trollhättan.

"It is the owners and the management of Saab that must take this forward and find long-term financing. We in the government have done all we could to facilitate the process," he said.

Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson meanwhile said she was also concerned for staff and Saab's suppliers, many of whom were forced to lay off employees when Saab's assembly line came to a halt.

"I hope Victor Muller will succeed in his ambitions to find a new partner," she said.

"Saab needs capital to get production going and pay its suppliers ... a strong partner with plenty of capital and commitment is required," she said.

The framework agreement  reportedly fell apart on the Chinese investors’ concerns over details in Saab’s weak balance sheet. Spyker says today that discussions continue with other potential Chinese partners.

TV4's economic reporter, Jens B Nordström, who has written a book on Spyker Cars CEO Victor Muller, told Radio Sweden that the news came as a surprise;

"What I am hearing from sources at saab and Spyker is that Hawtai feel cheated by Victor Muller, he has painted a rosy picture about what they were to do together and then they visited the factory in Trollhättan and found out that reality wasn't corresponding to what Victor Muller had been telling them and they backed out of the deal." 

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