* Owner Spyker says working on solutions to bolster finances
* Russian investor says wants stake
* Saab suppliers said angry at not getting paid
* Spyker shares slide
(Adds latest stoppage, plans to restart)
By Patrick Lannin and Sara Webb
STOCKHOLM/AMSTERDAM, March 30 The owner of
struggling Swedish car maker Saab sought to reassure investors
about its finances on Wednesday after a dispute over non-payment
to suppliers interrupted production for two days running.
The stoppages on Tuesday and Wednesday created fresh
uncertainty over Saab, whose long-serving chief executive
unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. [ID:nLDE72O0BW]
The company said production would resume on Thursday and
said a dispute with a key supplier, transport firm Schenker, had
Netherlands-based owner Spyker SPYKR.AS said it was
working to find solutions to safeguard its future, one of which
could be the return as a shareholder of Russian businessman
Vladimir Antonov and his Convers Group.
Spyker shares closed down just 2.6 percent having slumped 18
percent at the open.
"Saab Automobile has sufficient means to meet its
immediate liquidity needs from existing and available sources,"
Spyker said in a statement. "Saab Automobile continues to work
on longer-term solutions to further strengthen its financial
position and improve its capital structure."
Spyker Chief Executive Victor Muller said Tuesday's
production halt at the Saab plant in Trollhattan, western
Sweden, had lasted a couple of hours.
Spyker said some suppliers had halted shipments during
discussions about payment and supply terms. "Saab Automobile
expects to resolve these issues in the short term, also to
prevent any further disruptions in supply," the company added.
However Sweden's FKG association of car industry suppliers
said some firms were not getting paid. "The information that we
got at the end of last week was that they (suppliers) have not
been paid by Saab," FKG Chief Executive Svenake Berglie told
He said suppliers with which he had spoken, which he said
were among the bigger companies, were very angry.
STOP THIS HYSTERIA
The main plan for boosting Spyker-Saab's finances is focused
on Antonov, who owns a bank in Lithuania and Latvia and says on
his website, www.vladimirantonov.com, that his Convers Group
Management company has $7 billion of assets under management.
On his Facebook page, Antonov wrote: "To all Saab community
and media: stop this hysteria pls. Saab had a technical issue,
everything sort out and fixed now. If something I'll take care
anyway! Trust me:)))".
Antonov has been a long-time business partner of Muller and
used to have a near 30 percent stake in Spyker. Spyker has
already sold its sportscar division to Antonov and the Russian
said last week he would like to return to a 30 percent
shareholding in Spyker-Saab. [ID:nLDE72N1EC]
He has said he was forced out of the original deal for
Spyker to buy Saab from General Motors Co (GM.N) after being
suspected of being connected with organised crime. He has said
investigations have cleared him and GM is ready to let him back
as a shareholder.
Antonov also has to speak with Sweden, which guaranteed a
400 million euro ($562.6 million) EIB loan to Saab.
"Sweden is very open society and to avoid any rumors :) yes
we officially submitted the forms to NDO (Swedish National Debt
Office) for change of control approval," Antonov said on
The debt office confirmed Convers had sent in an application
on Tuesday, but gave no details.
(Additional reporting by Niklas Pollard and Aaron Gray-Block;
Editing by David Cowell and David Holmes)
($1 = 0.7098 euro)