So now we know. The Plan is out there. You can download your own copy of it here.
The most important paragraph in the whole thing is the one I quoted in my coverage of the press conference:
Sweden/Saab–The Company has conducted a strategic review of its global Saab business and has offered it for sale. Given the urgency of stemming sizeable outflows associated with Saab operations, GM is requesting Swedish Government support prior to any sale. The Company has developed a specific proposal that would have the effect of capping GM’s financial support, with Saab’s operations effectively becoming an independent business entity effective January 1, 2010. While GM is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the Swedish Government to support this direction, the Saab Automobile AB subsidiary could file for Reorganization as early as this month.
This probably fills in the gaps we’ve been seeing between GM’s opinion as to what’s been going on and the Swedish government’s opinion.
The government has been saying that GM is responsible for Saab and they want to see a plan that truly gives Saab a realistic chance of transition. As you can see from the paragraph above, GM’s plan is cut Saab loose by December 31st 2009 at the very latest.
……And If that’s not good enough for ya , Maud, they can file for reorganisation (bankruptcy) this month and become your problem right now.
Make no mistake – GM have strip mined Saab of their own technology (which Saab can licence back if they need to – thanks) and sold them down the river. Saab’s best hope now lies with convincing the Swedish government to throw them a paddle.
Saab have now applied to the European Investment Bank for a loan, which the Swedish government say they’ll guarantee as part of the package of loans they legislated earlier.
Maud Olofsson is holding a press conference tomorrow morning (Swedish time) where she’ll no doubt address the concerns for Saab as raised by GM’s plan.
This response will be pretty crucial.
The Swedish government have long held that they will not take an ownership stake in Saab but a reasonable chunk of their automotive industry is stake here, not to mention their export capability.
GM have cut and run. Good riddance to them, I say.
But the Swedes need to back their motoring industry and the company that has the design potential to be a proud Swedish player amongst it. This company is too good to euthanise.
Also rmember what Eric Geers had to say in my conversation with him earlier:
SU: So regardless of what GM say today, have you still got some room to move in terms of timing, etc?
EG: Yeah. The negotiations will continue. Exactly when they’ll end in terms of deadlines, etc, I can’t say. We just know that we need to plan an operation that can stand alone and then we will try to move on with things. We have to work on how to finance the operation, and that’s the road ahead for Saab.
It’s also important to remember that people need to back Saab up here. It’s OK for some to write a whole doomsday scenario, saying that it’s over-and-out for Saab, but if it’s over-and-out for Saab then it’s the same for a lot of people, and for an important part of Sweden’s industry and identity. It’s not just Saab, there will be a lot of people effected.
It needs to be sooner rather than later. Much sooner. But there’s still time.
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