This interview was recently conducted by AutoWeek.nl immediately after the creditor’s meeting on Monday. Thanks so much to reader davidjoost from the Netherlands for taking the time to transcribe and translate it. I found one particular quote from Victor especially telling.
“If people regard it that [I didn’t keep promises] is actually irrelevant, because no one knows, really nobody knows, what really happened. One day I will tell what happened, then everyone can get a more balanced image.”
Read the translation after the break.
Voice-over, Luc Vranken:
“Saab CEO Victor Muller about the latest developments.”
“Last Sunday we flew to Trollhättan to make a report in this Saab-city, which has been worrying for months about the future (of Saab). Ronald Tameling went to the creditors meeting in Vanersborg. And guess who he ran into, was it Victor Muller?”
“For sure Luc! I’m standing here in front of the court in Vanersborg, Sweden, leaning against Victor Muller’s Saab. Behind us, the judge has just ruled that the reorganization of Saab may proceed. Good news for the employees in Trollhättan and I just spoke to Victor Muller, about his opinion.”
Interview in Vanersborg:
AW: “Mr Muller, we’re now here in Sweden and the judge has just ruled. Could you briefly explain what has been decided?”
VM: “Today, the court has decided that the reorganization – the voluntary reorganization – may proceed” (RT: What does this mean?) “This means that all the creditors have been presented a plan, which we made to show that they can count on full payment and a solid future for Saab. This plan has been widely embraced and accepted. The court has therefore decided that the reorganization can continue.”
AW: “So now you’re going to cooperate with Pangda and Youngman, they are taking over Saab. What’s the plan for the coming weeks?”
VM: “Well, we will need to get some important approvals. Before, the NDRC (the Chinese government) was the biggest hurdle, but now that 100% of the shares will be owned by Pangda and Youngman I’m not expecting any difficulties there.”
AW: “What will be the biggest hurdles to get the necessary approvals?”
VM: “I think General Motors.”
AW: “And what are your feelings now, after today’s decision of the court?
VM: “I’m happy that the court followed the creditors recommendations and that our presentation was positively perceived. This means that we stand a good chance to get through the reorganization with a very strong and well-funded company in a few months. And that is what we’ve started two years ago, the goal to save Saab and to make it a healthy business that can claim it’s position in the top of the automotive market.”
AW: “The people in Trollhättan, they’re having a pretty critical opinion about you in the last weeks. Like: he promised a lot, but he didn’t keep his promises. Now this must have changed. What do you think will happen?”
VM: “Well… I’m afraid you’re generalizing… If people regard it that way is actually irrelevant, because no one knows, really nobody knows, what really happened. One day I will tell what happened, then everyone can get a more balanced image. What is certain, is that with this transaction the future of the employees looks good for the long-term, although we announced this morning that we’ll have to lay-off 500 people because we are dealing with a new reality.”
AW: “In a few sentences, how do you see the future of Saab now, after today?”
VM: “We still have a few weeks to overcome with uncertainty about the future, because it is unclear which approvals will come when. When these approvals have been covered and the agreements are properly finalized, I think that Saab has a very, very bright future ahead.”