* 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 (Reuters) - 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 been resolved.
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 public radio.
He said suppliers with which he had spoken, which he said were among the bigger companies, were very angry.
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 Twitter.
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)