Despite The Deadpools, Saab Says It's Weathering Storm

April 4, 2011

Spyker Cars NV, parent to Saab Automobile, is in need of a cash infusion and warns that the Saab brand may be in jeopardy unless additional financing can be found.

The announcement came with Spyker’s annual report, which showed a significant financial loss for the company in 2010.  Operating losses were experienced by both the Saab and Spyker brands, and the company spent considerable money in taking over Saab production, sales and marketing from General Motors. A financial loss for the year was anticipated in Spyker’s business plan, but in their own words, “the actual cash need was higher than planned.”

Within the past two weeks, Saab was forced to shut down production on three separate days when key suppliers and carriers held back deliveries for non-payment of invoices. That particular crisis seems to have blown over, as deals were reached with all the vendors in question. Moving forward, it’s likely that suppliers will keep the struggling automaker on a tight leash, even if no further payment delays are encountered.

A controversial but wealthy suitor is indeed in the wings for Spyker and Saab. Russian banker Vladimir Antonov, who helped Spyker finance the deal to buy Saab from GM before being squeezed out for ties to organized crime, is said to be a willing investor. Antonov insists that he has no ties to organized crime, and is being vetted by Sweden’s Debt Office, who has a say in any ownership changes at Spyker.

On a positive note, March sales of Saab automobiles reached 888 units in Sweden and 830 units in the United States. Both are significant increases from 2010, when the struggling company moved just a handful of units at home and abroad.

If an investor with patience and deep pockets can be found anywhere, the Saab brand may indeed weather this storm.

[Automotive News]

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