Vladimir Antonov ready to invest in Saab

Earlier today, the Swedish press opened the day with some sensational headlines and stories about Saab failing, even Saab going bankrupt within 5 days of the EIB pulling a specific trigger on their loan to Saab.

All of this was based on words from Vladimir Antonov, the Russian investor with close links to Spyker Cars and Victor Muller.

I addressed these first articles (specifically, the one from DI.se) earlier today. The primary response was to ask Mr Antonov a simple question – Why?

It seems we have some fuller text coming out now, via E24 and SvD. The context seems to have become a bit clearer, too. I don’t know if he’s given these quotes as a follow up, in a bid to calm the waves caused earlier today, or if DI.se and DN.se just chose to ignore the context. Either way, this is a little more reassuring.

It should be mentioned, too, that many people in comments chose to read the situation this way. It’s reassuring to see.


From SvD:

Russian financier Vladimir Antonov think that Saab Automobile’s sales target this year is “too optimistic”, and that Saab may need an extra buffer.

– If the goal is not reached, it would be nice for the Saab at 50-70 million euros (about 450-600 million) as an extra pillow to lean on. The money we are prepared to bear if we are permitted by the Bank, “he said.

No risk of the Saab shed their miljardlån from the EIB, he believes that there is now.

– The EIB has a great security and great interest for Saab loan. Why should they withdraw it? At the moment everything works well, “said Vladimir Antonov said.

However, he wants to put pressure on the Bank to allow him as a financier, which he argues that the bank does not do. His lawyers have not even had to arrange a meeting.

– Towards the end of the year there is a risk that Saab needs a financial partner and it is not easy to find one. But we want because we see Saab as a good investment, “he says.

…….TT: What would happen if the Bank withdrew the loan?

– In theory, this Saab would go bankrupt in a few days. But it will never happen. There is no reason for it. I see no risk that the Swedish state would have to go in and take over the loan, “said Vladimir Antonov.

There’s more at the SvD link and I’d encourage you to Googletrans it and read it through.

I think it’s fair to say this puts Antonov’s quotes from earlier in a much more informed context.

I still think the potential for damage is bigger than it needs to be, but I don’t know anything of what Antonov knows. The man has his reasons and these deeper articles seem to bear that out (and thanks to TT for putting the new articles out there and SvD and E24 for picking it up).

37 thoughts on “Vladimir Antonov ready to invest in Saab”

  1. A clarification of the article from SvD:

    ” His lawyers have not been able to make an appointment” (With the EIB)

    The overall theme of the article in my opinion is that Mr Antonov is becoming impatient with not being allowed to invest in SAAB… There’s a section at the end where he states that he and Victor Müller are looking at ways to repay the EIB loan by taking out loans elsewhere in order to allow Mr Antonov in as an investor…

    • Plus that EIB processes take time. He maybe wanted to take up the issue now and make pressure to be prepared in the case that the sales don’t meet the target. The article now gives a much more detailed picture about what has actually been said. The message of Antonov is clearly positive – if sales not reach the target and if there will be troubles because of this I am there to step in. After reading this one gets the impression that what was intended to be a positive message was turned into the negative by the journos.

    • Wow, he also said that Armand Group has been signed as the new Russian importer! Finally! They are most known for their Peugeot dealerships, but used to have a Saab dealership in Moscow as well. Hopefully the other current dealerships remain too.

  2. This is actually the hate subject number one when it comes to Saab and ignorant, grumpy Swedes – if Saab is to be financed by taxpayers, people will be pissed.

    But that’s not the case now is it…
    Good luck Antonov, save this ship since it, realistically seen, could be in better shape than it is.

  3. The previous headline (they have cleaned it up now) on DN.se was “Antonov: Saab to go bankrupt in 5 days“.

    Now it says: “Antonov warns: Saab can go bankrupt in 5 days“.

    Really special with two bad head lines on one article in just a matter of hours…

    • That first headline made me so darn angry that I used the “correct the article”-function and really let loose a volley of hard words towards DN. And I’m not the only one who did that when you read the comments.

      Journo’s might be jurno’s, but they have to do it right!

  4. I’ve read the article, and it puts Antonov and the whole case in a better light, but Antonov should know about the danger of the press taking his sentences out of context.

    Swedish and non Swedish.

    The Spyker shares have reached today a low of 3.80 at 11:40.

  5. The problem is that he talks about stuf that he doesnt have a clue about! He say that he is not involved in the company and dont have access to the numbers but yet he say that SAAB cant survive on 60000 sold cars! Sometimes its better to be quiet Mr Antonov!!

    This kind of statement doesnt help us dealers to sell saab cars!!

    • I tend to agree with Johan, although I’d rather not put it in such harsh words.
      I think this is more a PR thing to bring some focus to VA (“Don’t forget, I’m still there and ready to invest!”), especially after the very successful performance SAAB made at the Geneva show.

    • I both agree and disagree with you. He said that it is his own personal impression and not an official statement. But then on the other hand it could be questioned why he does talks about his own personal impression on that matter to the press.

  6. I tend to agree with Johan, although I’d rather not put it in such harsh words.
    I think this is more a PR thing to bring some focus to VA (“Don’t forget, I’m still there and ready to invest!”), especially after the very successful performance SAAB made at the Geneva show.
    Another possibility would be that the EIB-loan-story was already boiling and the Antonov statement was supposed to be an anti-missile to make a dementi unnecessary.

    In any way, it is difficult to know what this means without any thorough background knowledge – which in this case we all lack more or less completely.

    • I respectfully disagree. This is a damaging statement, fact or fiction (I like to think fiction). And if this is a statement meant to provide leverage for investment purposes, I think it throws a lot of doubt on his suitability as a SAAB investor. He certainly can’t hold a Board position if he’s going to make statements that are demonstrably NOT in the best interest of the company.

      Honestly, he now needs to walk it back or shut the hell up. Preferrably both.

      • WM, I have to agree with you last statement.
        First time in over a year I was able to read that “A dark cloud hangs over Saab says V.A.” at one of my regular (not Swedish) news feeds. What a shame it was one of the ‘inside guys’ that just put the cloud up there right after the Geneva success.

  7. In some way I understand VA. Why should it take so long time to get him involved in Saab?

  8. Victor Muller is preparing a Press Relase:

    Muller: Antonov statement “complete nonsense” STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The decision of the Russian investor Vladimir Antonov Saab sales goals are not going to get, is,”complete nonsense. That said CEO Victor Muller of Spyker Cars Thursday against ANP.

    “They (the statements) are completely and entirely at the expense of Mr. Antonov. They are in no way supported by the board and the supervisory board”said Muller.

    Muller did not specifically request comment on the statements of Antonov on sales targets. “I am going to make a press release and do it quickly.”

    Antonov, who last year helped to finance the acquisition of Saab by Spyker Cars, admitted in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri that Saab this year up to 65,000 cars will sell. Saab has a sales target of 80,000 vehicles.


  9. What’s the urgency to get rid of the EIB loan? Wouldn’t it be better to wait for the JC 9-3 hatch to come out first. It would be a thousand times easier to “attract” investors (including the community and workers) from the open market with two years of independency and a good product lineup under the belt.
    Of course now its the time to get in for a bargain especially with a little bit of scaremongering about full year sales predictions, in the middle of March.

  10. I have no problems with the later articles. They give quite a correct picture of the situation. Perhaps he should have pointed out more clearly that the number of sold cars was only his (uninformed) prediction and that depending on how much costs Saab can save the situation might not be that bad.

    Anyway I sent “angry” or perhaps corrective e-mails to DN, DI and Expressen. Other swedishspeaking persons could do the same! Point out the complete article in the other (competitor) papers!! It probably won’t change it this time around, but it will stay in the back of their heads. (I sent it the “Chefsredaktör” and all “Nyheteschefer”, or then the article writer)

  11. Relax everyone! Saab has well documented challenges but she ain’t going anywhere.

    Things never go exactly as planned. VM and the team are just fine.

    Cowboy Up!

    • I’m not doubting that. But the Swedish press repeats these stupid lies so many times that potential Saab buyers in Sweden start to hesitate. That’s my concern. I leave the real (corporate) challenges to VM&JAJ, but the press is not under their control… Glad to see you around here still 🙂

    • Well, here is perhaps one challenge too much: VM qualifies VA’s statements as ‘complete nonsense’. Not a very friendly description if VA is the intended financier for and shareholder in Saab for the next several years. Falling out between friends or an ultra-sophisticated trick to manipulate the Spyker/Saab share price? I just don’t know.


      • I expect that a rumor of this magnitude would take strong measures to stuff it back into the box that it came from. It does make me leery of having Vladimir too involved with Saab, I can quite easily see him getting involved in a deeper, heavier financial manner and then calling the shots. I would have to argue that Jan Ake knows more about running a car company at this point, and would hope to see some deference to experience. With that said a return to rally and getting the resultant headlines would be a more worthy cause in my estimation. I fully support his ambition to make rallying more relevant to Saab and vice versa.

  12. In other news. I just got back with my 9-5 -00 from the yearly vehicle inspection. As always, not a single remark. 250000 km without any real problem, except lousy rear dampers. 🙂

  13. I would like to see SAAB in a situation of exceeding sales targets, news stories about SAAB exceeding expectations will help build the positive momentum thats so much needed. The best way to do this is to drive strong demand for the brand, the 9-5SC, 9-4X and Griffin will all play an important role as new desirable product is the #1 demand generator.

    You might think I am stating the obvious, but there is also a denominator in this equation, which is the target. And setting targets is very tricky. If set agressively´, you get short term hype from dealers, investors and media, fail and it comes back and causes the opposite effect of what was intended.

    SAAB needs to exceed sales targets, If targets have to come down to achieve that with confidence, its best to reset them now. Communicate 60000 and achieve 80000 is going to achieve greater momentum then hitting 80000 on the nose. Communicating 80000 and reaching 60000 is going to communincate failure, Even with roughly 100% Y/Y growth.

    If forecasts need to change in 2011 to less then 80k, do it now. Saying 60k now and hitting or exceeding 60k by years end is far better for building sustained momentum and confidence in media and amoungst potential buyers.

    • If SAAB /Spyker has to communicate about sales they can do it after first or second quarter — not before. that´s unserious. First of all in this forum we talk about car registrations. not directly about sales and orders. So we don´t know anything which allows us to comment sales targets on a serious way. The new models aren´t in sale yet (but to order)

  14. Pure speculation of course, but my feeling is that VA knows perfectly well what he is doing. He is talking down the price of the share before going in.

  15. Don’t know if this has been mentioned here yet, but according to Daniel Barr on Riksgälden (the Swedish state organization that is the one who granted Saab the state security of the loan) the Saab deal has a clause concerning bigger owner changes. He says that they will assess any such situations if they get a request. None has been filed concerning Saab/Spyker. I have no idea how such negotiations proceed and where Antonov/Spyker has to start. Still it seems somewhat weird. Why haven’t they started at Riksgälden?

    (This part about Riksgälden was from a TT article in a finnish newspaper http://www.hbl.fi/text/ekonomi/2011/3/10/w60217.php )

  16. “Akut kris hotar Dagens Industri

    Det hänger ett svart moln över Dagens Industri”

    Om ingen köper Dagens Industri på ett år framåt, och de inte får några annonser, kommer Dagens Industri att gå i konkurs inom fem dagar. Detta säger Bankdirektör Jules Vedbom som inte tror på Dagens Industris säljprognoser. När konkursen är ett faktum kommer jag att köpa in mig som ägare av tidningen enär jag spår en lysande framtid för densamma, konstaterar Bankdirektör Jules Vedbom förnöjt!

    Emil, we appreciate every single comment here, and most if those are so funny like yours, but most people her don’t speak Swedish, me included.


    “Acute crisis threatens Dagens Industri

    It hangs a black cloud over Dagens Industri ”

    If nobody buys the newspaper Dagens Industri on one year away, and they have no ads, the newspaper Dagens Industri that go bankrupt within five days. This says Bank Director Jules Vedbom not believe in Dagens Industri’s sales forecasts. When bankruptcy is a fact I will buy me as the owner of the newspaper since I predict a bright future for it, “says Bank Director Jules Vedbom contentedly!

  17. The paper edition of Dagens Industri (DI) is as always somewhat more nuanced than the online version di.se. The first words of the intro chapter in the paper edition says:
    Vladimir Antonov want’s the Swedish Governement to….bla bla

    So the whole story is aimed to put pressure on the Swedish Government to move their a** acting against EIB for Antonovs (and Saabs) case.
    It also signals that Antonov is eager to start the investment NOW.
    The timing for this news may not be right for Saab right now, when there’s so much good news with Geneva etc.
    From Antonovs view the timing to bring out this news is urgent. it is only possible to send this message while Saab sales are still low and the future is disputable. If Saab sales where brilliant there would be less threat about the businessm case.
    It also signals the eagerness of Antonov to invest in Saab. Not only the cash-flow money but also the necessary payment to realise the 9-1/9-2. He wants it to happen now.And that’s really good news!
    If Antonov takes over the EIB loanes as he’s said he intend todo, there will be a greater freedom for Saab to use the investment as they need and there will be less bureucracy tied to it. Right now every Euro from EiB are tied to environmental automotive issues and have to be declared and checked by them,causing lots of restrictions and extra workload at Saab.

    To my opinion when I hear the facts about it, the EIB thing must be a ‘money-machine’ despite it looks some kind of EC enterprise rescue organisation. Saab has set up securities for 12-13 billion SEK to get an EiB loan for 4.5billion SEK at an interest rate of 7 per cent – ridiculous! it sounds like robbing to me, considering that the rate for loans to a house or appartment in Sweden is about half that rate.
    Theoretically speaking: If Antonov supplies the investment he could keep the 7 per cent interest rate while Saab gets the benfit of not having to declare every cent and saves the paperload work. Or he can give a lower rate and still have some good payback on his investment.

    My interpretation of the issue – bad news right now, but extremely good news in the long run.

  18. I think it’s pretty simple. Vladimir is ****ed that the EIB isn’t letting him invest yet. He goes out and makes some statements to indicate that he’s prepared to let Saab leverage his cash to get through hard times and thus keep the EIB loan safe and secure. Problem is, he probably got a little to chummy with DI reporters in giving his opinion that supports the need for him to step in as early as possible (Saab not meeting forecasted sales numbers). Not exactly the best idea, and I’m sure he owes VM and the Saab team an apology, which he’s probably already given them. From Victor’s side, I’m sure he empathizes with what Vladimir is going through, but it’s just not something he needs to deal with right now given what’s on his plate already.

    Not a huge crisis, just a little impatience rearing its head. It’s all good.

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.