Lars Carlström on the role of the Swedish Government in the Saab saga

Lars Carlström wrote this article that will be published in Dagens Arbete, the paper of the union IF Metall today. Here’s a translation:

Swedish industry’s reputation in Europe is seriously damaged by the government’s official non-involvement in the SAAB, none of our leading ministers have set foot in Trollhattan the past two years despite the massive problems the automobile industry has undergone, there are exceptions in the alliance, Mats Odell (KD) has worked to create an engagement, he has acted as he should, he has visited the factory supported the staff and talked highly of the company and its directors who are doing their best to solve its problems.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the alliance government has the same intentions. I’m talking primarily about Moderates malevolent agenda regarding both the company’s owners and management that obviously affects Saab’s 3800 employees and the entire automotive cluster in western Sweden, a total of up to 120,000 jobs, those are the same people who claim to preserving jobs in Sweden, and claim to have this as their main issue.

Applying the ministerial rule at all cost by running their strange beliefs on the owners and management shortcomings as an extension could lead to serious disturbances of the Moderates’ rampage in the 2014 election campaign.

The Conservatives are quite confident that Saab has no future under the current owners and management, about that you can think what you want, but it does not justify ministerial rule through manipulation and domination aimed to change a private company ownership, I’m talking about the influence of the EIB on the Antonov issue where a number of processes were delayed and prevented by the mainly Conservative hidden agenda on the issue, and now their active involvement in the reconstruction process, this operation was however exposed by the media a few weeks ago. This had the effect that the Ministry of Enterprise, which owns the issue, felt run over as the Ministry of Finance has taken a number of remarkable initiatives, with the result that it totally dropped the matter from its business, at least officially, a serious tear in the paint for Borg. The internal problems with that matter are extensive and it would be wrong to talk about the government’s behavior when it is limited to the now hubris fueled Conservatives whose arrogance and authoritarianism will lead to future mistakes.

The problems we now see in SAAB is primarily a result of the Moderates’ role in question which skillfully manipulated public opinion, the journey to success on the issue has been long and it has internally expressed surprise that the company is still alive despite their efforts. Back in April this year Volvo / Geely representatives were contacted by the Finance Ministry to probe the possible involvement of a solution for SAAB which did not contain the current owners and management. The pattern is familiar already thinking mainly of Carnegie and HQ bank where the similarities are striking.

I call for a truth and constitutional hearing with Anders Borg and Fredrik Reinfeldt to investigate their involvement in the issue, an European disgrace.

Lars Carlstrom
Scandinavia Manager Convers Group

While I am no friend of conspiracy theories in general, the Saab saga has some strange twists that are hard to explain with common sense alone. Anyway, this piece will surely cause some discussion so if you want to have your say – comments are open.

KarlR
Member
4 years 11 months ago

No salary for SAAB employes until next week and not the whole pay because SAAB dont have money. 🙁
http://www.ttela.se

Polle
Member
4 years 11 months ago

From our friend Swade:
“There is some news buzz floating around the web about salaries at Saab. I can pass on that money has been received under the government guarantee applicable for companies in reconstruction. This doesn’t cover the full month of October, however, and calculations are being made to distribute the funds equitably, which will be done ASAP. Arrears will also be made up as soon as funds are available.”

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Ho Hum

I think I will file this one in the back of my head under “Wait and See”
Though I seem to be running out of space in that department lately.

900 classic cab
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

It was about time that people know what SAAB management had to overcome besides the regular business difficulties. As you, I was never an adept of conspiracy theories, but this saga made me think different. People with responsibilities should face justice, hearings or whatever, but SAAB workers, suppliers and people who will be affected by some way in case things go wrong, have the right to know if there’s been an hidden agenda or not.

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago

KarlR — your comment was a clear violation of the comments policy. So yes, it invites flak.

As important as the question of wages is, this week we have bigger fish to fry. We can certainly wait for Saab to make an official statement about this question.

KarlR
Member
4 years 11 months ago

BS, SAAB doesnt stick to the rules so why should listen to this joke?

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Fine. Your choice.

scand
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Saab would probably rather not make an official statement on not paying employee wages.

Osama Dajani
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Guys:

What could happens, or, What would be the consequences, if SAAB declares its Bankruptcy?

Could any responsible man in charge explain to us very thoroughly?

TurboLover
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Sorry, but I do not trust this guy. If there would have been some truth to what he says about the Moderates (Conservaties), why did they then back a EIB 3,5 bilj krona lending scheme?

The Government might have done to little and to slow and sometimes beeing a bit incompetent, BUT why on earth would they have as a goal to make thousands of people unemployed?

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago

First of all, their role as guarantors for the EIB loan is risk free.

Secondly, that process started with Koenigsegg and it would have looked strange if they did not afford Spyker the same courtesy.

Thirdly, did you see my article concerning Maud’s claims that swegov had provided huge loans to the automobile industry? (http://saabsunited.saabklubben.se/2011/07/digging-into-mauds-claims-for-future-reference.html)

Basically they are providing the Swedish people the necessary amount of lip service while they in reality do absolutely nothing.

There is definitively a pattern here. Whether it is incompetence or part of a hidden agenda is open for discussion.

TurboLover
Member
4 years 11 months ago

I do not see any pattern, and I do not believe in hidden agendas in this case. AND I would NEVER come up with such grave accusations without waterproof evidence.

scand
Member
4 years 11 months ago

How is it risk free?.

If Saab defaults, swegov, as guarantors have to repay the eib loan, no?

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Yes
But they hold collateral worth at least the value of the EIB loan

Henrik C
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Value of Colleteral can be depreciated in event of defaults, e.g. home auction following sub-prime crisis.

IF SAAB defualts, I don’t think the collateral can hold the value. And IF those collateral are P.P.E (generally they should be), they are natrually depreciating as we speak now.

So I guess it is hardly risk free to guarantee the EIB loan.

Khrisdk
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Depends on different calculations and the time perspective

Saab Parts is a very sound business when looked at by itself

TurboLover
Member
4 years 11 months ago

@JH22 Correct, And one could ad that any “risk free” investment (with that high interest rate that the EIB loan had) easily could have been made on the free market.

Henrik C
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

BUT, you just cannot evaluate Saab Parts by itself. If SAAB is not a going concern, how can its subsidiaries be?

SweGov still undertakes some risk as a guarantee, and SAAB should appreciate it. Government is not obligated to bail out every company in trouble. SAAB is important to us, but apparently not to the majority.

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago

JH22, take the number of Saabs rolling on roads all around the world at this point. Then estimate how many parts they will need in the coming X amount of years.

They did this calculation and figured that X was a reasonably low number.

At least that is what was said publically at the time. NDO (Riksgälden) carefully evaluated this at the time.

The real downside for swegov is that a number of taxpayers are now in the process of becoming unemployed. (turning an income into an expense)

Henrik C
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

@Rune
I live in Sydeny which has a population of 5 million. I can spot one SAAB driver roughly once a week.

And I wasn’t saying SAAB Parts would be worthless. I said it would be worth less IF SAAB is bankrupt, which I hope not. An my point was it was not risk free to guarantee the EIB loan.

Unemployment is completely another issue. however, given what you’ve pointed out, I can’t imagine SweGov had a hidden agenda to make its taxpayers unemployed? Just can’t follow the logic.

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago
JH22, it is my recollection that they said at the time (almost two years ago mind you) that they based their value assesment on what the companies (and properties)’ value in case Saab went south. As for unemployment figures and their thinking, it was also said at the time “let them build windmills”. They thought the financial crisis had not touched Sweden to any significant degree and that they would steer clear of the whole thing. Lately I think they have changed their tune a little, but seemingly only to save their own hide. In any case: action speak louder… Read more »
Henrik C
Guest
4 years 11 months ago

Hummer and Pontiac, were they saved by white house?

rune
Member
4 years 11 months ago

JH22, GM was saved (and shed a few brands, including Hummer, in the process). Chrysler was helped.

In Europe, both France and Germany have taken an active role to make sure they have retained their automobile industry.

But this is common knowledge?

No 9
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Conservatives whose arrogance and authoritarianism will lead to future mistakes.
Just like in Canada and elsewhere. Conservatives, arrogance, authoritarianism…all synonyms.

Trued
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Carlström should have written NYA Moderaterna (The New Conservatives), the whole OLD Moderaterna party was hi-jacked by a group of Neo-Liberals some years ago led by Borg, Stegö-Chilo and Littorin. Now Borg s the only one around, Stegö-Chilo had to step aside after having not paid state fees for TV licence. Littorin was accused for having been involved in criminal activities. So who is next….
The Neo-Liberals call themselves Swedens WorkerParty, taking that from the SocialDemocrats….. who are loosing voters to the Neo-Liberals.

Nate 9-3
Member
4 years 11 months ago

This political dynamic is playing itself out all over the world. Interesting.

Nate 9-3
Member
4 years 11 months ago

Right on, Lars. Right on.

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