1.2 million loss. Per day.

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.

Saab Independence Day 2011
Saab Independence Day 2011. Image: Saab Automobile AB

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 April 6, 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.

The article is based on a publication by Dagens Nyheter, large parts have been translated from Swedish. Bloggers opinion during the day in Tom`s rearview mirror.

37 thoughts on "1.2 million loss. Per day."

  • Hans, I'll ask if you can reactivate “Monique”. When switching to Saabklubben, I also had difficulties logging in again. This is now solved. Greetings from Belgium.

  • Arndt between the end of may and the beginning of june nothing happens. This is history.

  • The politicians follow the lobbies. In Belgium there are Audi. Volvo cars and trucks in production. Gm and Ford are after 50 years to Spain and Turkey with eu money. Volvo cars Ghent is already ready for the C Ma plat form which! .7 years. And fall supplier work solution .. So that means that is nevs and the old 93.plat form to start. Tom calls geely's invest in volvo .. But we are happy to build Volvo cars and trucks in Belgium. we also built Saab.

  • Tom investors start with 5 racing years. Even with heavy investments and only sell money after 7 years the staff is secondaire. .

  • One detail, but still the question of how Saab managed to resume production between the end of May and the beginning of June. As I read then, this was apparently related to the visit of a potential Chinese investor. And what was produced there? Is it true that (almost) all 9-3 Griffin were produced during this time? How many? And what else?

  • Right Olaf but the adventure continues. Why is tht in the meadows for three years. Why is contract work at valmet automotive in Finland. magna in Austria and the BMW mini in born nl a success and not in tht. because the potential is what and in the planning. Anger and frustration what nevs could not.

  • Yes that would be interesting. But nevs cash flow sits in the ……? .. Tom maybe and his saab knowledge and communication is the top.

  • Hopefully NEVS won't burn that much money too. You could see what the Chinese do at Hahn Airport. Only a few are really solvent like Geely at Volvo and recognize the signs of the times (SUV wave, hybrid before e-cars) ...

  • An adventurous story! These details are new to me. From the material you could make a movie.
    A shame - with the right leadership, strategy and investments years before, SAAB could probably have been successful in the long term. Opel also suffered from the old GM mismanagement and almost was sold to MAGNA. With courageous intervention and support from the German government, Opel was helped through the difficult times. The Swedes could have done that too. At SAAB there was recently a plan and great models were in the pipeline. See 9-4x, 9-5NG SC and a new 9-3. All really very unfortunate!

  • In the case of a lottery

  • Volvo and Saab are two brands.

  • Our new saabs are over the moment geely was in stockholm for three days with the solvent people .. They bought volvo.

  • Exactly Kochje. I'm the pseudo of Monique on Saab United my wife and both saab lover for saab ... We are both out with IP address. I can't even read your commentaire on saabs united.

  • No Arndt his age would be very successful in maritime Weissmuller firman and Victor even in fashion brand MC Gregor, Dièse school boys we need to start something Aub. The swedes are xenophobe. His personal loss in Saab was very little.

  • and probably some parts for the spare parts supply. But that does not matter much.

  • A lot of people have a crush on saab, but not Victor Muller. Nevs has a crush on Saab with money in the banks. For almost three years it was still unable to function.

  • Would be interesting to know how much money NEVS is currently burning every day. Still nothing is produced there. There are probably development contracts, there is probably revenue from rentals and the only production are probably the purchased electric transporter. But also for the one had to pay the purchase price and the construction of the Chinawerk wants to be paid well. One has seen what Chinese treaties are worth, if one falls out of favor with these pseudo-communists and new political heads emerge. Let's see how long NEVS can burn without money, especially in Sweden. Produced is now as was reported, especially in China.

  • A lot of car for the money? Today as a used car, yes, if you look at the car itself. 2009 as a new car, no - see my blog article and the price comparison Saab 9-3 to Volvo V50. Although I remember that Volvos were much more expensive in Germany than in Sweden. But new Saabs were also expensive in Germany, right? Brand with premium standards for doctors and architects, or what was the legend?

  • Antonov, not Ivanov

  • I agree. Muller and Ivanov were just like naive schoolboys who wanted to build beautiful cars and have fun. When the money ran out, Muller quickly lost his reality, which he probably still has today.

  • Do not know to what extent / how much the Swedish state pays subsidies. However, the possibility of state intervention was discussed in the media at that time. One policy commentary that I remember is that the Swedish economy is doing very well right now (ie 2011), so you do not have to worry about Saab Cars (with about 4.000 employees not so huge). The other thing is that actually every reasonable observer realized that Saab Cars was a bottomless pit. Apparently not only GM realized that, but also Koenigsegg and other companies who looked at Saab. One can be glad that there is NEVS at all, otherwise no investor would have been found.

  • Loss was always the problem with saab and too expensive in its class with gm parts. You had to sell a million cars to break even to reach dixit CEO Volvo ex Saab scania. Nevs has money in the banks but does not produce in Sweden. The 95 sport Combi should come with the sedan. Victor Muller starts production of the new 95 and a new platform and design Nevs comes with the old 93 and Victor Muller platform. How is the bad guy here. Ceo Vw goes with pension and 50 million euros. And leave vw behind with billion claims.

  • I think that was where the three “usual things” came together that often occur in such rescue and / or takeover actions:

    1. Missing overview of the exact amount of the liabilities and their due dates.

    2. Over-euphoric sales ideas, although one should actually have known retrograde that adequate (considerably higher !!!) sales figures cannot be achieved overnight

    3. No recoverable collateral that could have been activated from the company substance.

    It would have been better in such a tough takeover situation, if initially boring but knowledgeable accountants had looked over the financial status, with the car enthusiasm is such a thing. The horses go through fast and the account statements slumber unnoticed in the closet for a long time. If the sales and sales plan does not work out as you would expect, the lights will go out in such cases. I'm afraid NEVS seems to act in a similar way. If so, then the end result would be the same in the foreseeable future.

  • That's probably a kind of long-term bet. In 10 years you can see if the investment pays off. Currently it looks like this.

  • I'm curious to see if all the money comes back

  • Start-up phases are always expensive, but SAAB's dependence on the GM still depends on GM. For the takeover but probably a cushion to be able to buffer problems.

    At GM time, I would probably rather assign the losses to the creative accounting of the group. Siphon off profits with licenses and do not pay for the worldwide used safety and turbo technology.

    However, the state should only intervene if the company has really entered into a predicament and the structures also allow repayment. The state with its taxpayers will also be fast extortionate to continue to refill. A mix of owner, state and staff private money on open books for the three funders. With all the joy of my 9-5NG and the fact that Mueller has taken him to the streets, it must be clear that the owner is behind the project and first pays the suppliers and then himself.

  • Antonov was not enough money, that's clear. It would have needed an owner with a lot of money. Like Volvo, where Geely has invested more than 12 billion dollars.

  • Then Antonov Saab could not have saved either. The money would have been used up in 90 days. And if the annual loss was on the order of magnitude, how would that have changed?

    This also makes it clear why every Saab driver has the feeling that he is getting a lot of car for the money. Sponsored by SAAB AB, and later by GM.

  • Well, Opel had also received state aid. In addition, other branches of industry are also subsidized by the state and thus through taxpayers' money. E.g. lignite industry ... and in Sweden it will probably not be any different.
    Accordingly, you could have Saab already under the arms grab, one has done at Volvo and finally.

  • Nah, that's not the case. Daimler makes a profit, but Saab Cars had already made high losses the years before. To compensate for this is not the task of the state / taxpayer.

  • Unfortunately, the Swedish state did not intervene at that time, which does not reveal itself to me today. SAAB to let go down the drain is like turning the keys in Stuttgart at Daimler.

  • Sad that at SAAB the rumgeeiere continues to this day, no clear direction and a lot of empty words….
    Sad especially for the employees and the region.
    I hope someday to a professional financial investor of maybe
    could also have the confidence of SAAB AB.
    It would also be interesting to know how SAAB AB thinks about SAAB Automobile today ...

  • “Default” is interpreted as standard at DN, we have adopted that.

  • “Neither the production stop, nor the disturbed relationship with GM was mentioned. On the contrary. The relationship between Saab and GM has been called the "default". "
    I understand “default” as default or payment default. That's pretty clear in this context ...

  • Hope you ask the Ministry of Finance in Stockholm also why man has hesitated so long to take a decision invalid? Under Spyker at least one active development strategy would have been decided so many years before that was missing. Today too days investments from China are judged as wrong and not necessary. But what makes you the best in Europe? Save, save, save and thus save everything. Hope Mueller and all other managers do not let you.

  • Hard story. So much drama behind closed doors. I would not have expected that.

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