Spyker's CFO steps down just as Saab gets back up

AMSTERDAM/STOCKHOLM Wed Jun 1, 2011 5:46pm EDT

Saab Automobile production plant is pictured in Trollhattan, May 12, 2011. REUTERS/Scanpix/Thomas Johansson

Saab Automobile production plant is pictured in Trollhattan, May 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Scanpix/Thomas Johansson

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AMSTERDAM/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Spyker SPYKR.AS, the Dutch owner of cash-strapped Swedish carmaker Saab, said its CFO would step down as it secured another 15 million euros ($21.6 million) from Chinese partner Pangda (601258.SS).

Loss-making Saab was pushed to the brink of collapse after running out of cash to pay suppliers, halting production on April 5 and forcing Spyker to scramble to secure financing, making the job of its chief financial officer pivotal.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Spyker said the sale of its sports cars business to Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Antonov would result in its operations being limited to those of Saab, and so the role of Spyker CFO would be assumed by the new Saab CFO, whose appointment will be announced later this year.

Spyker CFO Hans Go will step down as of July 1 but remain involved as advisor until the end of the year to support the management with various transitional projects within Spyker and Saab, the company said.

Rob Schuyt, who is temporarily acting as Saab CFO and was recently appointed a statutory director of Spyker, will also temporarily assume the role of Spyker CFO, the company added.

Saab only managed to restart production at its Trollhattan factory last Friday and on Wednesday Spyker said Pangda was following up on its initial 30 million euro order from Saab with an order that had already been agreed on May 16 for 630 vehicles worth 15 million euros.

Delivery of the vehicles will start in the fall of this year, Spyker said in a statement. Spyker used the first advance payment of 30 million euros it received from Pangda in exchange for 1,300 Saab cars to pay back suppliers so that its production plant could resume work.

Spyker shares closed down 4.3 percent at 3.20 euros, whereas Amsterdam's smallcap index .ASCX closed down only 0.3 percent.

Pangda, which raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering in April, wants to take a 24 percent equity stake in Spyker for a total of 65 million euros, for 4.19 euros per share as part of a 110 million euro deal.

The Chinese car distributor is waiting for regulatory approval at home. Sweden has guaranteed a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan to Saab and also has to agree to any shareholder changes, as does the EIB and former owner General Motors (GM.N).

"I look forward to the next step in our business relationship when we set up joint ventures for distribution and, at a later stage, production in China together with a still-to-be-named manufacturing partner," Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said in the statement.

Earlier on Wednesday Saab said its sales in Sweden, one of its top markets, fell 59 percent in May from a year ago to 290 cars. It said it had reached the bottom in terms of sales and that, year-to-date, sales were up 23 percent.

(Editing by Sara Webb)

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