UPDATE 2-Saab production halted anew by supply woes

Tue Apr 5, 2011 11:23am EDT

* Suppliers say bills unpaid

* Saab says problems will be resolved

(Adds quotes from supplier)

By Mia Shanley and Patrick Lannin

STOCKHOLM, April 5 (Reuters) - Swedish carmaker Saab halted production anew on Tuesday due to parts shortages after failing to pay suppliers and said it expects more interruptions.

The company, which stopped production for three days last week, is aiming to sell 80,000 vehicles this year and 120,000 next year compared with about 30,000 in 2010.

Saab's Dutch owner Spyker SPYKR.AS is seeking to boost its finances by getting a former shareholder, Russian Vladimir Antonov, back on board.

Some analysts have questioned whether the firm can survive in the long term.

Spyker, which bought the loss-making Swedish firm from General Motors (GM.N) last year, says Saab has had a liquidity squeeze.

"Production is stopped right now. It was stopped this morning," said Saab spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs.

"We are working intensively to make sure the flow gets going again. We are having discussions with suppliers and doing our best to come to mutual agreements."

Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller told ANP-Reuters the company expected to have more production line interruptions.

"This is an ongoing thing. It will take some time to get everyone back in line properly. We will get it under control."

The organisation representing companies which supply Saab said four or five of the biggest stopped deliveries because of unpaid invoices.

"They (Saab) cannot pay their bills," Svenake Berglie, chief executive of the FKG suppliers' sector organisation, told Reuters. "Saab must sort out its financing."

Norway's Raufoss said it was owed significant amounts and was awaiting a decision from Saab before sending its next delivery due on Thursday.

"This is a major problem for Saab when we and many other suppliers are holding back due to the uncertainty," said Raufoss director Leif Bronken.

Antonov has applied to the Swedish Debt Office to take a stake in Saab, which is expected to be just under 30 percent.

Antonov, who owns banks in Lithuania and Latvia, used to have a 29.9 percent stake in Spyker but had to sell it, at GM's insistence, before Spyker could buy Saab. Media reported at the time that Antonov had links to organised crime.

Antonov has said he has cleared his name and that GM has now agreed he can resume as a shareholder. Sweden, which guaranteed a 400 million euro EIB loan to Saab, must also approve a shareholder change. (Editing by Mike Nesbit and David Cowell)

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