Saab US Dealers Ask For SCNA Chapter 11 Protection

Take this as a good sign, today 41 US dealers asked a judge for Chapter 11 protection which would allow them greater involvement in a liquidation and to preserve whatever structure they can in case a bid for the entire company is accepted. Automotive News published an article today explaining the situation with quotes from the dealer group’s attorney Leonard Bellavia. He is representing 162 of the 188 US dealers in the bankruptcy proceedings.

“We filed a [Chapter] 11 just in case a white knight comes out of nowhere and buys Saab’s parent,” he told Rick Kranz of Automotive News. In the US, a Chapter 11 differs from a Chapter 7 in a few key areas. He explains it in his statement on behalf of the dealers today.

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Spare parts — Will the NG 9-5 become a problem?

A news story making its way through Swedish media today reports that the availability of parts have actually improved after the bankruptcy. Some suppliers with unpaid bills from Saab Automobile AB held back deliveries to Saab Parts AB as well in an attempt of putting extra pressure on Saab as a whole. The profitable Saab Parts company paid their bills, but was suspected of sponsoring the production line with various crucial pieces of parts to keep production going.

I am going to point out the obvious: If Saab Parts were indeed doing that, they were effectively looking out for the suppliers’ best interest as well. Every car made would generate money for Saab the minute it left the assembly line. Money that could have paid off the suppliers (who were getting paid by Saab parts). It was far from ideal, but much better than the alternative which I dare say has now been fully explored (as predicted a year ago, a bankruptcy means no GM licenses). In addition, by squeezing Saab Automobile AB they were also squeezing us customers, which will make it harder in the future for us to trust Saab and Saab’s suppliers if they ever get the production going again. I dare say the suppliers will need to show us customers they want our business in the future.

In any case, back to the story at hand: Saab managed to make 11280 9-5s. The question is: Will Saab Parts AB look after us 9-5 owners or will we be left to fend for ourselves? And what about the 9-4X? Few made, but the plant making the 9-4X is very much alive.

I do not have the answer to those questions now, but it is something the crew is presently looking into. Meanwhile: What parts are you guys out there waiting for (part # and short description), and for how long have you been waiting? Comments are open. And please, do not all of you answer “keys!” at the same time — We have been told a big shipload of key-fobs for the 9-3 are on their way.

Big Swedish delegation heading for China [gp.se]

MK made me aware of gp.se’s recent article.

Trollhättan’s Mayor Annika Wennerblom and the region’s development officer Bertil Törsäter are among the delegation heading to China this afternoon.

Saturday the receivers have called for an ‘exclusive’ press conference with a chosen few journalists [note to the receivers: including representatives for the customers would be very wise at this point].

“I am unaware of any connection with the trip. But if Youngman invites so many different parties, then I believe they are prepared to present something interesting” says Paul Åkerlund (former union head honcho at Saab, now a member of the city council).

Several suppliers are represented, including the European organization CLEPA.

Even the unions are there and also someone from the Ministry of Enterprise. The Ministry declines to comment.

GP has tried to reach the receivers to ask them if they are going, but have not been able to reach them.

Fredrik Sidahl, the president for the Scandinavian automotive suppliers FKG says “They should. The receivers should make sure that Saab is sold for as much money as possible. As far as I know, they were invited by Youngman as well.”.

“Here are some guys who think they can take a shot at this” — TTELA

TTela brings more news this morning — note how eager other governments are where SweGov completely failed to do anything other than talk:

Is it the Turks the receivers are focused on? The answer is ‘yes’ according to Brightwell Holdings.
“I work closely with Victor Muller, the receivers and others from Saab’s management group” says Brightwell’s Zamier Ahmed – which is even confirmed by Victor Muller.

As earlier reported by TTELA, the Turkish investors Brightwell Holdings want to buy what is left of Saab, and they are confident General Motors would welcome such a deal.

Zamier Ahmed, a board member of the company was yesterday in London. He confirms that the interest in Saab is intact.

“We want to keep Saab in Sweden”.

According to Mr Ahmed and Mr Muller, they have been cooperating closely with Saab’s receivers Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans L. Bergqvist and others in the management team of the bankrupted company.

“I believe Brightwell has sufficient funding to cope with this deal” says Victor Muller to TTELA.

Zamier Ahmed notes that Brightwell has been monitoring Saab’s development for more than six months and it is the high quality brand name and technology that is attracting their interest. Brightwell with their strong focus on environmental issues, feels that Saab’s technology fits in well with their policies.

They also have the full support of their own government for buying Saab and have previous experience in the automotive industry, among which is a 2010 acquisition of a European electric car. They are also negotiating with an American yet to be named manufacturer.

Updated: “Saab might get split up” – CLEPA and others interviewed by TTela

Update: A source close to SU says that Youngman are back in the race. The receivers are now back in touch with Youngman.

Several stakeholders are critical of the way the bankruptcy gets handled. TTela reports: “What are the receivers doing? That is the question posed by several stakeholders concerning Saab’s bankruptcy – Youngman’s advances are rejected, the Swedish stakeholders receives no feedback while Semcon could be getting their hands on some of the estate.”.

Fredrik Sidahl, CEO of FKG (An interest group for suppliers in Scandinavia), points out that the receivers were invited to visit Youngman’s facilities in China, but will not be represented today. “Every proposal for a complete solution should be carefully examined”. He notes that the receivers have not been in touch with neither himself nor any of his member companies.

Instead, among others, IF Metall (one of the unions) will meet with Youngman.

Lars Holmqvist, CEO of CLEPA, is also critical: “One can voice different opinion of Youngman, but they are the only ones truly familiar with the case after having spent half a year negotiating with the company. For other interested parties it would take months before a complete solution could be presented. There is no available time for that.”

“Youngman has a plan involving the next generation 9-3, producing a new Lotus in the Saab factory and access the Phoenix technology. They should be considered.”

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Saab’s receivers meet with TTela

News are coming in fast today…

The receivers have been interviewed by TTela.

They are very impressed by the new 9-3, have met with Victor Muller and says there are serious interested parties that want to acquire Saab. At the same time, it is impossible to make any promises. TTela met with Saab’s receivers Hans L Bergqvist and Anne-Marie Pouteaux in Gothenborg.

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CLEPA: Sweden should adopt short-time compensation

In an interview with TTela, Lars Holmqvist the CEO of CLEPA explains that Sweden, unlike Germany and Italy, does not offer much compensation for businesses struggling under a recession.

“I followed closely the last deals made with Saab and it should not have had a negative impact on GM had they accepted it. What GM did was paltry.”

The Swedish government has set up an educational package to help former employees qualify for other types of jobs. “Everybody knows it will not generate many new jobs. It would be better if they would offer something of real value. In Gernmany and Italy, the state offer short-time compensations, which means the state will pay 50% or more for a couple of years.”

This would help ensure that the bankruptcy estate would increase significantly in value.

“If Magna or some other company would take over, this would significantly boost their chances. But I have difficulties believing this could happen, given the current administration’s politics”

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