Saabs Dutch CEO files for bankruptcy

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Saab Automobile has filed for bankruptcy in Sweden, bringing to an end two years of efforts to rescue the iconic brand that manufactured cars for six decades.

The final desperate efforts to organise help in China were obstructed by Saab's former owner General Motors over licences.

Saab's owner Swedish Automobile said in a statement that "the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors."

GM refuses licence transfer Swedish Automobile's charismatic Dutch CEO Victor Muller had been due to appear before the court on Monday as judges had been scheduled to decide whether to lift or prolong the three-month bankruptcy protection Saab had been placed under while it was attempting to negotiate a deal to rescue the company.

Muller had been struggling to clinch an agreement in recent months with two Chinese groups, carmaker Youngman and car distribution company Pang Da.

But General Motors has repeatedly said it would refuse to agree to the necessary technology licence transfers to the Chinese firms, and Pang Da pulled out of the negotiations a few weeks ago.

As recently as this weekend, GM reiterated its opposition to any deal with a Chinese suitor. The attempts to sell Saab to Chinese partners have been seen as the last chance of saving the carmaker, which was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it to Dutch-owned Spyker cars in early 2010 for 308 million euros.

Takeover by the Dutch In the Netherlands, Spyker is the manufacture of a luxurious sports car. Owner Victor Muller changed the name of the newly-acquired Saab to Swedish Automobile. London-based Russian entrepreneur and banker Vladimir Antonov bought up the sports car division of Spyker earlier this year.

It has been a rocky road since the takeover. Saab's some 3,700 employees, whose salaries have been delayed five months running, did not receive their November paychecks. Once the bankruptcy filing is approved, they will be paid through a state wage guarantee.

The carmaker began life in 1937 as an aircraft manufacturer, something which became evident in the aerodynamic, sporty shape of its first concept car designs. Saab built its first prototype cars in 1947 with the first production version rolling off the assembly line two years later.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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