It has become a tradition at the „iconic” Saab: For the sixth month in a row, former carmaker Saab can’t make payroll. Saab employees did read the familiar note on their website today that salaries are “delayed.” Their head of HR, Johan Formgren, told them that sadly, he cannot “confirm any exact date when the salaries will be paid.” Saab spokesman Eric Geers told the media that he also does not know when wages will be paid. And who is to blame? Victor Muller? Fugitive Valdimir Antonov? All-around-whipping post GM?
No way. It’s the Chinese.
In a text message cited by Göteborg Expressen, Victor Muller writes:
“We wrote in a letter to the employees that we’re sorry, but we are not responsible here – it’s the Chinese. They have promised to ensure that there is money as part of reconstruction funding.”
So what now? Is there a danger that the re-org is cancelled and that Saab will finally go belly-up? Victor Muller sends another text message:
“Not if the Chinese pay.”
That’s a big if. The Chinese don’t like to lose face. They can get downright vindictive when that happens.
Meanwhile, Svenska Dagbladet says that the scandal surrounding Vladimir Antonov and his failed banks could have “consequences for Saab:”
“For example, what happens to the money Antonov has already pumped into the back door of Saab Automobile if the Lithuanian allegations prove to be right? What happens to Victor Muller, who after all is the company’s CEO? And last but not least: What will happen to Saab Automobile?”
That indeed is the big question. China’s Youngman and Pangda wanted to buy 100 percent of Saab. GM said and keeps saying: No way. Victor Muller wasn’t too unhappy about this, because he sees a continued role for himself in an arrangement where the Chinese own less. And just at this very moment, Wanted posters with Antonov’s picture are printed. Says the business site E24:
“The serious charges against Antonov won’t make GM yearn for a solution in which Victor Muller, backed by the Russian financier, is left as an owner. From the outset, General Motors had a negative attitude towards Vladimir Antonov.”
GM doesn’t want a solution with 100 percent Chinese ownership. E24 reckons GM probably won’t want a solution with Muller and allegedly laundered funds in the picture. Pretty dismal, no? No wonder no check is in the mail. No salaries, and off to the bankruptcy court it will be.
After a big gulp of Kool-Aid, the good folks at Saabsunited say that all will be fine, and they focus instead on the fact that someone bought a new Saab 9-5 at a dealer. This must have become such a rare occasion that it has become newsworthy.
Sweden’s Expressen is getting tired of them:
“Victor Muller’s partner in Saab – Russian financier Vladimir Antonov – is wanted for economic crimes after suspicion of bank robbery in the Baltics. Isn’t that enough to understand, even for the most naive Saabhugger, why Antonov was not allowed to buy Saab? I don’t want to put the duncecap on Antonov’s Swedish support group, but I expect a slightly more serious discussion of Saab’s future.”
Before the 4Chån wannabes descend on TTAC and scream “unprofessional condescension” and “don’t you have sympathy for the poor unpaid workers”, let me say just this:
Responsible for the well-being of the workforce is Victor Muller and his merry banksters. Also, I fail to get emotionally worked up for the plight of people who had been on a fully paid vacation since April. And who will be recipients of the generous Swedish unemployment benefits when Saab goes belly-up for good. Not that I blame them for holding out: If someone would pay me the full monte for sitting at home and doing nothing, I would take it, and I wouldn’t look for another job where I would have to work for my money. However, there are millions of real jobless out there without benefits, with foreclosed homes, and food stamps – if they are lucky. Those deserve our sympathy.
As for for the harmless enthusiast site Saabsunited, for quite a while it functioned as the propaganda arm of Antonov. It had had an “Approve Antonov” flag on its banner and instigated a polyglot letter writing campaign to the Swedish government to DEMAND the approval of Antonov as a Saab shareholder. Now, there is a warrant out for his arrest. Saabsunited openly supports the flooding of GM’s Facebook page, something which will kill any sympathy for Saab’s cause as far as GM is concerned. Any if someone holds the keys to those workers keeping their employment, then it’s GM. Saabsunited deserves the duncecap after all.