January 29, 2012 in News
Turkish private equity company Brightwell Holdings is to make an imminent statement on retaining skilled engineers at Saab, following the inking of a confidentiality agreement with the bankrupt automaker’s receivers.
Some 4,000 workers face redundancy in Saab’s home town of Trollhattan, but Brightwell appears anxious to retain a core element of skilled staff in order to restart the business.
There have been reports of high attendance at job fairs in Trollhattan as the near 4,000 workforce seeks alternative employment, but Brightwell is looking to attract as many of the skilled engineers for example, as possible.
“At the end of the day, Saab will not be the entity we want it to be if we don’t have skilled engineers for local production,” Brightwell Holdings partner Zamier Ahmed told just-auto. “We will make a statement with regards to that in the very near future [when] we have a better picture of the positioning for our proposal.
“The core of Saab is the people – without these core people we don’t have a product. We will do everything we can to make sure we provide an intelligent and sustainable platform for former workers of Saab to work with us.”
Brightwell has been in regular contact with Saab for some time prior to its recent bankruptcy and appears to be one of two front-runners for the Swedish automaker, along with Chinese manufacturer, Youngman, although the Turks have now gone public with their confidentiality deal.
“We have signed a confidentiality agreement – we wait for the trustee to invite bids and we will make our proposal,” said Ahmed. “I am sure there are other parties – our Chinese friends Youngman have been making lots of noises and have been since last week.”
Ahmed also stressed Brightwell was looking to acquire Saab in its entirety and would not seek to break up the company. “It is either all or nothing,” he said, scotching any rumours Saab could be moved out of Sweden.
“We are not interested in bits and pieces – I want to keep Saab Swedish,” he said.
The regional government in Vastra Gotaland where Saab is situated, recently announced a series of measures worth SEK90m (US$13.3m) to try and ease the plight of mass redundancy in Trollhattan.
Among the measures were improved transport links to nearby Norway and Gothenburg, where Volvo is based, in a bid to alleviate what some have estimated could be up to 12,000 unemployed workers in both Saab and its supply chain.
Youngman was not immediately available for comment.