Vstra Gtaland County Sends Saab To Collections
The government of Sweden’s Västra Götaland County has referred Saab to the Swedish Enforcement Service (Kronofogdemyndigheten) over nonpayment of a $16.2m loan, reports thelocal.se. The bill is for repayment of a portion of a roughly $45m in aid extended by the county to Saab during its first weeks of bankruptcy. Because the $16.2m portion was used specifically to guarantee employee salaries, the County is arguing that it is not covered by Saab’s 75% writedown agreement with creditors. Saab insists that the salary guarantee portion is covered by the cramdown, and says it has paid its 25 percent of the total loan.
Now, nobody thinks $16.2m is going to push Saab (back) over the edge, but the brand is currently going all in on its Swedish heritage in ads like the one shown above. Going to the mats with the government that kept the lights on in Trollhättan, especially when all of its other debt was reduced by 75 percent, doesn’t exactly speak to Saab’s simpatico with the Swedes. But then, what’s a government to do? Once you’ve put money into a failed firm, you’ve got skin in the game and it becomes nearly impossible to stand on any kind of principle. The rescued company, meanwhile, never ceases to be fundamentally profit-motivated.
It will be interesting to see how those notoriously collectivist Swedes and their Kronofogdemyndigheten handle this little dilemma…
This will be interesting to watch, as the kronofogde takes precedence over any other debts. If their claim is right, and they receive no money, they will walk away with 16.2 million dollars worth of factory tooling, if nothing else turns up. This is the state debt collector we are talking about, you can't beat those guys, you can't even talk to them. It's not even a political situation. To quote my favorite line from Jaws: "what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all." If you can't pay you debt, your ass belongs to the debt collector.
I give SAAB a few more years. Then, if the Chinese aren't interested, it'll be over.
The all new Saab 9-5. When the Germans, Japanese, and yes, even the Americans run out of cars, it's what's left.
" ... those notoriously collectivist Swedes"
I'm not sure how much you understand modern Sweden.