By on June 15, 2011

A group of businesses that are owed anywhere between $198 and $744,083 could force ailing Saab to declare bankruptcy.  They have turned to the Swedish Enforcement Agency, better known (and feared) in Sweden as the “Kronofogden.” That agency introduces itself as follows:

“Is there a bill you cannot pay? Or are you not getting paid by someone who owes you money? In both cases, it will be Kronofogden that you come into contact with. A debt that is not paid ends up in Kronofogden´s register. This register is open for all to consult. As a result, anyone wishing to find out how someone else manages their finances can check the register. If a person´s name appears in the register, he/she can find it difficult to buy on hire purchase, borrow money or rent an apartment.”

Currently, there are 48 entries on that list that claim that Saab owes them.  Lots of suppliers. A few bill collectors. A patent attorney. One of the world’s largest CPA firms, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, demands $104,904.

Swedish online newspaper GT published a list of all the claims allegedly reported up to Tuesday. Here it is:

Creditor Amt SKR AMT USD
Svensk Bilprovning: 10,309 kr $1,595
Supplies Team Sverige: 1,559 kr $241
Uddeholm Svenska: 150,272 kr $23,246
Dahl Sverige: 50,661 kr $7,837
Michael Page International: 1,812,330 kr $280,360
Posten Meddelande: 443,330 kr $68,581
Effect Management Search: 128,014 kr $19,803
Kongsberg Automotive: 4,338,708 kr $671,180
De Lage Finans: 157,904 kr $24,427
Siemens: 19,007 kr $2,940
Bording: 99,134 kr $15,336
Posten Meddelande: 244,909 kr $37,886
Kontentan Förlags: 1,280 kr $198
Awapatent: 319,513 kr $49,427
Öhrlings Pricewaterhouse-Coopers: 678,521 kr $104,964
Benteler Aluminium Syst.: 82,029 kr $12,690
Mutual Benefits: 455,948 kr $70,533
Brännkammaren 67: 223,224 kr $34,532
Teliasonera Sverige: 5,525 kr $855
Ultramare: 32,890 kr $5,088
Chemetall Skand. Ytteknik: 361,174 kr $55,872
Infotiv: 215,653 kr $33,361
Granzow: 90,867 kr $14,057
Materialcenter Väst: 93,725 kr $14,499
Benteler Aluminium Syst.: 973,005 kr $150,520
Netgroup Engineering i Gbg: 92,847 kr $14,363
Svea Ekonomi: 4,128 kr $639
Kopparberg Finans: 129,683 kr $20,061
Bording: 5,162 kr $799
Atlas Copco Compressor: 141,875 kr $21,947
Atlas Copco Compressor: 6,127 kr $948
Runelandhs Försäljnings: 3,234 kr $500
Live Nation Sweden: 238,001 kr $36,818
Carlhag: 5,129 kr $793
TDC Sverige: 2,597 kr $402
Svenska Elektrod AB: 2,262 kr $350
Fasitet PDE: 4,809,973 kr $744,083
Eniro Sverige: 35,762 kr $5,532
Dacat: 238,653 kr $36,919
Atlas Copco Compressor: 448,501 kr $69,381
HIQ Göteborg: 3,327,844 kr $514,803
Inkasso Marginalen: 436,099 kr $67,463
Awapatent: 233,601 kr $36,137
Mima Skepps- och Industriservice: 686,278 kr $106,164
I3tex: 425,939 kr $65,891
Releasy Customer Management: 266,967 kr $41,299
J Event: 729,118 kr $112,791
Chemetall Skand. Ytteknik: 341,427 kr $52,817
Chemetall Skand. Ytteknik: 142,316 kr $22,016
23,743,014 kr $3,672,944

This list is as published by GT, we assume no responsibility for completeness or correctness.

GT points out that this is just the list of the creditors that turned to the state agency for collection. “The total debt is many times greater,” says the paper. “The situation is extremely serious,” said  Sven-Ake Berglie, president of Fordonskomponentgruppen. He also points out that this list just scratches the surface: “The largest creditors are abroad. For example, GM.”

Germany’s Automobilwoche [sub]  reports that “increasingly impatient suppliers could soon file a petition for bankruptcy.”  Getting on the Kronofogden list establishes priority in bankruptcy proceedings. Kronofogden is not just bill collector and keeper of the list of shame, it also supervises bankruptcy proceedings:

“A company whose debts are excessive may be declared bankrupt by those to whom it owes money. The company is then taken over temporarily by a bankruptcy administrator, often a lawyer, whose task it is to share the remaining money among those with claims on the company. Kronofogden supervises the bankruptcy administrators and ensures that they perform their task correctly.”

But Kronofogden is also here to help: “

If you have major debts that you think you will never be able to repay, you can apply to Kronofogden for help with debt relief. This will require you to live for five years at the minimum possible level of financial outgoings. All surpluses in your finances will be used to pay off your debts. After five years, you will be clear of debt.“

Come on: Just five years at minimum possible level of financial outgoings, and you are debt-free.

But wait. Aren’t there bazillons coming from China? Says Automobilwoche: “Currently, these are non-binding dreams of the future out of a joint letter of intent.  The reality faced by the more than 3,700 workers that had to fear for their jobs for more than a year looks a lot more dismal than a rosy future Made in China.”

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10 Comments on “Saab Referred To Collections. Bankruptcy Threatened...”

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    “Aren’t there bazillons coming from China?”

    The Chinese will do their due diligence before investing their millions.

    Seeing $3.6M in collections isn’t going to help sway the Chinese.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    To be fair, and to put it in persective, $3.6 million US is couch money in the world of automobile manufacturing. That’s not even a daily operating cost for a Tier II builder. It’s not even Toyota’s daily electricity bill.

    As for the Chinese, they can cover that out of the petty cash account.

    What really needs to be further explained is the total debt that is “many times greater.” To whom? At what terms? And current status of that debt? Is it $360 million? $600 million?

    Next, what’s the income sheet look like? Sales, as we know right now, stink. And the profit per vehicle (bandied about here, while Saab was under GM ownership) was a negative $5,000 per copy. Is that still Saab’s non-profit per vehicle today?

    No question, the $3.6 million in published debt is bad PR, and casts some doubt on official, optimistic Saab statements. But it’s the iceburg that remains hidden under the water that really needs to be explored.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, this is the disconcerting part. If you want to sell huge chunks of your company, you prepare for due diligence. These things are the first you make go away. Not only because they look bad. Also, because they have a tendency to come up just when you are negotiating with your buyer. They know that gets them leverage.

      Not being able to clean that up looks really bad.

      You can explain to a buyer: “Ok, here is a 200 million loan from GM.”
      But it is really hard to explain why you didn’tz pay your CPA, your patent lawyer, and suppliers you need.

      • 0 avatar

        Bertel, I’m glad to see the Kazaks got paid! 4 saab articles in 3 days. Or is it 5? Really. I must tell Vlad to lay off them for a bit. Perhaps they deserve a vacation……this PR stuff is really overtaxing.

      • 0 avatar
        Domestic Hearse

        Bertel, I fully agree. Having worked for a firm that’s been both buyer and buyee over the last several years, the fact that Saab has a published creditor list verges on unthinkable as they attempt to hold themselves up as a viable acquisition.

        But as bad as this list is, it’s merely a red flag for what’s NOT on the list.

        If the list were the end of the bad news, it’d be no big deal for a Chinese investor to wipe up the mess using $100 bills as paper towels. But the real carnage is deeper in the ledger, and I simply don’t see how Saab’s “investor skit” can continue.

    • 0 avatar

      As you point out, $3.6 million is chump change. However, if Saab can’t even afford such meager bills, it shows just how desperately unprofitable they really are.

      Sure, some mythical Chinese company could pay their bills easily, but there is no upside to doing so. Other than feeling good about charity, it’s the same investment exercise as giving a homeless man $20 – you’ll never see it again.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Tell that to Tesla & Fisker.

      For a boutique maker, which is where Saab sits based on last 12 months cumulative sales, $3.6M cash is real money.

  • avatar

    For the love of all that is holy, just LET THEM DIE already…

  • avatar

    So when can we order the special edition “bankrupt” trim level?

  • avatar

    This may sound dumb, but how much do they owe GM? After all, the 9-3 is a Chevy Malibu. The 9-5 is a Buick LaCrosse. GM is the source of almost all major parts. GM is building the 9-4 for them. They actually exist, I have seen them on the road. Are they paying GM?

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