In Sweden, the trial of Victor Muller and former Saab managers, which starts in Xnumx in January, casts its shadow over Vänersborg. The final processing of the bankruptcy of Saab Automobile AB has begun. Dagens Nyheter has evaluated thousands of e-mails and extensive documents on the biggest insolvency case in recent Swedish history.
22 owned by Spyker for months, stands for 22 months with deep red numbers. Or, concretely, for 11.000.000 Swedish Krona loss. Per day. Dagens Nyheter Focuses on the months of February and March 2011. The article has been partially translated and begins by describing the situation at 23. February 2011.
In Trollhättan, 3.800 Saab employees celebrate Independence Day. Nordfeld's Konditori in Vänersborg delivers 372 pies with the design of the 9-3 Cabriolet Independence Edition. The songwriter Thomas Ledin plays his hit “Just nu” on a stage. Victor Muller delivers a flaming speech at the main portal.
Muller and Jonsson celebrate, but reality catches up with the managers a day later. The temperature in Trollhättan drops to minus 12 degrees. Suppliers are more and more urgent to remind them of outstanding invoices, the telephones never stand still. They decide not to answer any more calls.
Three weeks later, a manager from the finance department declared the situation untenable. In an email he advises “to tear the phones out of the wall, and to ignore payment orders from the (own) management until further notice".
What happened in March and April 2011 behind the factory gates?
Olof Sahlgren, Gothenburg's chief prosecutor, has been investigating the situation for 3 years. With the help of surveys, external reports and thousands of internal emails, he came to the conclusion that the situation in spring 2011 was hopeless. But the management believed in miracle funding from China or Russia. The preliminary investigation is 4.658 pages and accuses senior managers, including Jan Ake Jonsson and Victor Muller, of white-collar crime and fraud.
The questioning of those involved was difficult. Chief lawyer Christina Geers heard the sentence 78 times during a 2015-minute interrogation in February 45 “no comment”Expressed. Other respondents remarkably often "I can not remember”Or“I do not know”Said.
The research shows that the difficulties started with the purchase. In conclusion, Sahlgren Saab sees the bankruptcy in the spring 2011, but at the latest with the production stop on 6. April 2011.
Saab employees under pressure
The situation was unbearable, especially for the employees of the finance department. They felt the terrible situation every day with full force. Finally, the doors were locked, suppliers removed from the site, phone calls no longer accepted.
Saab presented the Phoenix Concept in Geneva in April 2011. 2.000 square footprint, 13 vehicles. But the press was more interested in the difficulties in Sweden than in the study. Muller, visibly upset, regarded the stop of production as a misunderstanding. Caused by a supplier who had already been paid.
But the reality behind the factory gates was a different one. The coffers were empty and the liabilities were stifling. Saab was also behind at GM. The contracts were terminated by the Americans and Saab has been since the 1. March put on cash.
Muller did not have a direct contract with Saab Automobile AB. He billed for services through his Caribbean LAT Holding, whose only asset was a luxury yacht. While the suppliers continued to wait for money, a total of 18 invoices from Mullers LAT Holding on Curacao were paid promptly. Often signed directly by Jonsson, 7 million crowns and an additional bonus payment of 1.5 million crowns were transferred to LAT.
The situation at the end of the year 2010.
The situation was extremely serious. The year 2010 ended with a loss of 3.7 billion crowns (388 million euros). This was due to the extremely weak development in sales, which with 28.280 cars did not even reach half of the plan. In the background were the unexpectedly big problems of starting production after the purchase. In addition, difficulties in expanding the distribution and rebuilding an administration after the separation from GM.
And it got worse ... and worse ... and always worse. The first months of 2011, as the insolvency administrators describe it, were “very turbulent".
Opel and GM had accumulated 220 million Swedish Krona in debt. GM found a breach of contract and then terminated the agreement. Opel Germany and GM immediately stopped all deliveries and services and replaced Saab with 1. March on cash.
No parts without money - no parts without cars. No income without cars. No income - no further payment of the EIB loan. A vicious cycle had begun. Muller put everything on the card Antonov, who wanted to invest almost a billion crowns with Saab with his Snorras bank.
The controversial Russian businessman was accepted by GM and the EIB. But not in Stockholm by the Ministry of Finance and the Reich debt administration. The latter had become nervous because it vouched for the 400 million € EIB loan tied to very strict conditions. This was only partially paid out, the next tranche of 29 million € was due.
The expected money was already firmly scheduled at Saab. On the 6. April, late in the evening, the Reich debt administration pulled the emergency brake. She refused Antonov, and a week later the EIB stopped paying the loan.
20 years. 4,8 billion € loss.
The balance sheet for 5 was published on April 2010. Neither the production stop nor the disturbed relationship with GM were mentioned. On the contrary. The relationship between Saab and GM has been called “default" designated.
Sahlgren sees this as an attempt to cover up reality. He is supported by the bankruptcy trustees who call it "remarkable”See that no better information was given about the real situation.
In the GM years, between 1990 and 2010, Saab had retracted a loss of 46.7 billion crowns (4.8 billion €). But while at GM time Saab was a passable tax-saving model, it got really fierce at Spyker time. During the 665 days, Saab Automobile AB lost 7,7 billion crowns (805 million). That's equivalent to 11.580.000 SEK per day. Or half a million kroner every hour during the time Victor Muller was at the wheel.