UPDATE 3-Saab owner warns on funding as production resumes

Fri Apr 1, 2011 11:38am EDT

* Spyker says uncertainties over funding requirements remain

* Saab resumes production after deal with supplier

* Car industry suppliers satisfied but cautious

* Shares slip 4.8 percent

(Adds background, share price)

By Mia Shanley and Sara Webb

STOCKHOLM/AMSTERDAM, April 1 (Reuters) - The Dutch owner of Swedish carmaker Saab said it risked closure if it couldn't get extra funds when needed, just hours after resolving an impasse with suppliers that threatened the future of the brand.

Spyker SPYKR.AS said in its annual report that management was closely monitoring the firm's cash position and was ready to adjust spending to preserve liquidity, but it needed timely additional funding to ensure it stayed in business.

"There is a risk that when additional funding of its ongoing operations and execution of the business plan is not timely secured, continuity of the group could become uncertain," it said.

To bolster its finances, Spyker said this week it was focusing on Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, who has submitted an application to take a stake in the loss-making car manufacturer.

Antonov was forced out of the original deal in which Dutch carmaker Spyker SPYKR.AS bought Saab from General Motors after media reports of links to organised crime. He has said he has cleared his name and that GM is ready to have him back in the agreement.

Sweden's Debt Office, which has a say in ownership changes, is in the process of considering Antonov's application.

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said this week that Antonov, who owns a bank in Lithuania and Latvia, was keen for his bank to lend a "significant" amount to Spyker, though he said the amount would be less than the 400 million euros EIB loan that Spyker already has with Swedish state guarantees.

Muller also said Spyker was in talks with large European and U.S. banks about a 500 million euros credit facility to replace the EIB loan and Swedish government guarantee. [ID:nLDE72U20W]

The funds are for working capital, as the EIB loan can only be used for 80 pre-determined engineering projects.

Spyker said in its annual report that it had negative cash flow throughout 2010 due to operating losses at Saab and its automotives business, and expects the situation to remain the same in the first half of the year.

Spyker shares have fallen almost 12 percent this week.

SUPPLIERS CAUTIOUS

The funding warning from Spyker came shortly after Saab struck a deal with one of its key suppliers, International Automotive Components Group (IAC), after being forced to stop output for a third day running due to payment disputes.

"Production resumed today," spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs said. However, the carmaker is still holding discussions with some suppliers, she said. "There could still be some temporary stoppages until things are flowing."

IAC, which supplies dashboards and other interior components, had stopped deliveries over payments. Saab was also forced to halt production earlier this week due to another payment dispute with transport company Schenker.

Saab hopes to get back to its more than 200-car daily production capacity as soon as possible.

Christer Palm, chairman of Sweden's FKG association of car industry suppliers, said he had not heard of any new issues that could hold up production, though he believed suppliers were somewhat cautious given this week's payment disputes.

"They seem to be satisfied, even if there may be some delays," he told Reuters, noting that the delays were a matter of days rather than weeks. "There is no acute problem that I can see at the moment."

Saab said separately that registered sales of Saab cars in Sweden, one of its top markets, had risen 129 percent in March to 888 units. (Additional reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Mike Nesbit and Will Waterman)