STOCKHOLM Aug 17 Sweden's debt enforcement
agency is preparing to seize assets of troubled car maker Saab
in an attempt to recover at least 4 million Swedish
crowns ($625,000)owed to parts suppliers.
"We have contacted Saab's banks," Hans Ryberg, an official
at the Swedish Enforcement Authority said on Wednesday.
The agency can now seize assets, including any cash in
Saab's bank accounts.
Car production at the cash-strapped company, rescued in
early 2010 by Netherlands-based Swedish Automobile, ground to a
standstill in April because suppliers who had not been paid
refused to deliver components.
Since then, Saab has been scrambling to find new sources of
financing. The company has agreed around 61 million euros ($86
million) in short-term funding, which it used to pay wages and
some debts to suppliers.
Saab's next big test comes at the end of the month when it
is due to pay wages to its roughly 3,600 employees, a bill that
could run to millions of dollars.
A number of suppliers have turned to the authorities to get
their money with some 370,000 Swedish crowns ($58,000)
immediately outstanding after final demands from Sweden's debt
The amount due for immediate payment will rise to 4 million
crowns on Thursday, Ryberg said, and is expected to rise
A Saab spokeswoman declined to comment on the actions of the
debt collectors office but said executives were working hard to
raise additional money for the company.
Suppliers and workers have been losing patience with Saab
over unpaid debts. Saab delayed paying workers' salaries two
months in a row, leading unions to threaten to demand the
company be declared bankrupt.
Saab later coughed up.
In July, supplier SwePart Verktyg AB applied to the courts
for Saab Automobile Tools AB, a daughter company to Saab
Automobile, to be put into bankruptcy, only to withdraw its
request when it was paid. .
According to figures in Saab's annual report, the company
had to pay out around 157 million crowns ($24 million) in staff
costs each month last year.
($1=6.395 Swedish Kronas)
(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Erica Billingham)