Before we get to how much trouble GM are in, there was a great report on Bloomberg News about the effect the current situation with Saab is having on life in Trollhattan.
Mona-Britt Olsson says she knows who to blame for the panic gripping Saab Automobile’s hometown of Trollhaettan in southern Sweden: Industry Minister Maud Olofsson.
“Maud Olofsson is not very popular here these days,” said Olsson, 67, who worked for Saab for 30 years before retiring. “She probably shouldn’t walk alone here at night.”
Olsson and the 45,000 inhabitants of the industrial town on Sweden’s western coast are in attack mode after Saab, Trollhaettan’s biggest employer, filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 20. Their rage is split between parent General Motors Corp. and the government for their refusal to give aid, risking thousands of jobs and the survival of a Swedish engineering icon.
It really is well worth a read.
I love this little city. I have fantastic, idyllic memories of my time there and the people I met during that glorious week back in 2007. This is a place that can’t be left high and dry.
Now, to the crapper.
GM just released their 2008 financial results and as someone mentioned in comments earlier today, they really do appear to be collapsing under their own weight. Let’s hope that’s not the case as we need them to stay alive to allow Saab to reorganise.
For the 2008 calendar year, GM reported an adjusted net loss, excluding special items, of $16.8 billion, or $29.00 per diluted share. This compares to an adjusted net loss of $279 million, or $0.49 per diluted share in 2007. The 2008 results were driven by the impact of the U.S. recession and subsequent global contagion. Including special items, the company reported a loss of $30.9 billion, or $53.32 per diluted share
GM stock is currently trading at $2.55 a share.
To add to that little bit of misery, GM are facing massive protests in Germany today.
“Workers of GM Europe are sending one message today: Opel must not die and will not die,” Berthold Huber, chairman of the IG Metall labor union, told protestors at division headquarters in the Frankfurt suburb of Ruesselsheim, a rally he said had attracted 15,000 demonstrators.
And meanwhile, EU Ministers are taking a leaf out of Maud Olofsson’s book:
Verheugen said the commission intended to protect GM’s European subsidiaries, adding, “We do not believe that you can solve the overcapacity problem by throwing the weakest people off the sledge.”
But he also stressed that any aid to Opel would have to be accompanied by thorough restructuring plans, placing the blame for the situation squarely on GM.
The EU have stated that they will take legal action against any government that unfairly props up it’s car industry. I’m not sure how they can do that outside the EU, but apparently they think they can.