Saab Secures Investment, But Production Restart Remains Unclear

Saab says a consortium of investors will take 50.1% of the auto maker’s Trollhattan property in exchange for E28 million ($39.7 million) in funding.

Saab Automobile and parent company Swedish Automobile reach a deal with a consortium of investors worth some E28 million ($39.7 million) in funding for its operations, although it remains unclear when the auto maker will restart its stalled assembly plant.

Saab says the consortium led by Swedish real estate group Hemfosa Fastigheter will take 50.1% of the auto maker’s Trollhattan property in exchange for the funds.

In turn, Hemfosa will lease the property back to Saab free for one year. The parties expect to enter into a fresh 15-year lease later.

The deal remains subject to the release of the property by the Swedish National Debt Office, which holds it as backing on a E400 million ($567.7 million) restructuring loan from the European Investment Bank, pledged last year to save the auto maker.

If the NDO releases the property, Saab says, the EIB loan would be reduced by E120 million (170.3 million), leaving the pledge at E280 million ($397.4 million) and the auto maker with E63.1 million ($89.6 million) remaining in available government support.

The deal with Hemfosa requires further government approval, which Saab says it expects shortly.

The investors could purchase additional shares in the property worth up to E33 million ($46.8 million) after the deal closes.

Saab also remains in discussion with other investors on short-term funding to restart its assembly plant.

Monday, the auto maker said it received an order for 582 vehicles from an unnamed Chinese company worth E13 million ($18.6 million). The order calls for a full pre-payment, which enables Saab to begin paying its employees again and make partial payments to suppliers.

An inability to make timely payments to its suppliers caused Saab to idle Trollhattan last week.

The company told Ward’s on Friday it expected one more week of stalled production.

Trollhattan produces sedan and wagon versions of the 9-3 and 9-5, plus the 9-3 convertible.

The auto maker has had 14 days of available production since a 7-week stoppage halted output in April and May as Saab sought long-term funding for its business, which it won from Chinese dealership giant Pang Da Automobile in a E110 million ($155.2 million) equity investment and car-supply deal.

Saab USA, importer of vehicles to the auto maker’s most important market, closed May with 3,954 vehicles in stock for a 16 days’ supply, according to Ward’s data.

Longtime parent General Motors divested Saab in 2010 for $400 million to the former Spyker Cars, a Netherlands-based niche vehicle maker that since has sold off its sports car business to focus on rejuvenating Saab and renamed itself Swedish Automobile.

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