Now that it has been first leaked then confirmed that the European Investment Bank EIB will not let Russian financier Vladimir Antonov get close to Saab, Antonov says he had known that all along.
Antonov’s spokesman Lars Carlstrom told Reuters that his boss “has known for a few weeks that the EIB would not let him invest in the iconic Swedish car firm,” Reuters reports. That revelation should come as another blow to Saab’s crumbling bastion of enthusiasm, Saabsunited, which had reported just yesterday that “Antonov is trying to save the situation.”
With the troops left dazed and demoralized, the generals practice the ancient art of finger pointing.
- Carlstrom told Reuters that the EIB is taking its cue from the Swedish government, and that “the Swedish government has stopped us investing 100 million euros ($143.6 million) in Saab. They are ready to risk 4,000 jobs.”
- At the Swedish government, Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications spokeswoman Johanna Martin said today: “We have been clear all along. When the EIB and GM give their approval, we are ready to do the same.”
- GM had given its approval back in April, but attached a long list of conditions, which were kept secret and most likely unmet.
- The EIB broke its silence today and said that its loan to Saab had been made under the condition that Antonov is not part of the deal, Dagens Industri reports. The bank had made that clear in 2009, and it had not changed.
- Carlstrom says Antonov still wants to be an owner in Saab and is working on a way to repay the 217 million euro loan due to the EIB, and that a deal should be coming in a few weeks.
While the principals hold hands and sing Ring around the Rosy, there are unambiguous words from the parties that really hold Saab hostage: The suppliers. No parts, no cars. No money, no parts. The suppliers have had it, and they are busy driving Saab — into bankruptcy.
Lars Holmqvist, head of the European supplier association CLEPA, told Dagens Industri:
“The important thing for us is that Antonov is not a solution. This is not a matter where a Scrooge McDuck goes in with a lot of money. The basic problem is that Saab does not sell cars. They sold 28,600 cars last year. One cannot survive on that in our industry.”
From the bunkers of Trollhättan comes the latest and possibly last sign that the end is near. Writes Saabsunited:
“Lars Carlström states to SaabsUnited that this makes it clear that government has played a double role in the matter having one version of the story to the public, Saab and Vladimir Antonov and another inwards. They have effectively lied to the Swedish people, Saab and everyone else which could have caused damages in amounts as high as billions of swedish crowns. There has been several hundreds of lawyers involved in this process and has taken a lot of time and resources away from both Vladimir Antonov and Saab.
This could very well cause a crisis inside the government of the country and could potentially lead to a change in leadership!”
Hubris till the bitter end. Can’t run a car company, but threaten to take a government down with them. The revelation that Muller and Antonov may have lied to the troops will come after the last stages of grief have taken their due course.