Happier Times At SAAB
Can a debt of $22,000 (150 000 kronor) really return SAAB into bankruptcy for a 2nd time and also threaten the arrival of the all-electric 9-3?
It appears it can, as NEVS (National Electric Vehicle of Sweden) who bought the company's estate in 2012 has a date with Swedish bankruptcy court September 8th over the matter.
Interestingly, the company that has put in this claim Labo Test - who supplied testing equipment for NEVS (and who had a previous relationship with the original SAAB), didn't even know they had put the Swedish company into this predicament.
SVT Västnytt ran down the CEO of Labo Test, Håkan Bodin for comment on how the situation had gotten this far over such a small amount, and he responded with a big "huh?"
"I did not know how far it had gone. I have to get some information on this before I can give a comment"
Initially, SAAB equally stunned we are sure, declined to comment on the matter themselves. However, after some time Labo Test cleared up what had happened. Apparently frustrated with attempting to collect, the company had turned over the issue to a debt collection agency who had initiated the action. Mr. Bodin then said they were now considering their options.
"We must now think about this (action) and one option could be that we pull back the bankruptcy petition."
And while this might seem like avoiding bankruptcy is the most likely outcome here for SAAB, one has to remember that NEVS' Chinese backer (and of whom ordered 200 all-electric SAABs) basically stopped sending the company any money months ago - and the debtors are piling up.
SAAB under the hood
The CEO of Labo Test later expanded again (translated from Swedish) on the details to P4 Vast.
"We've done some work for Nevs and was not paid, (then) sent reminder after reminder. So what should we do? We was not forced, but it belongs to our routines to proceed when we do not hear anything ... We have no hard feelings against Nevs, no one will be happier than I if they get the money from China."
Another Look At The New SAAB 9-3
This past May in an effort to conserve resources, NEVS sent home its electric-SAAB workforce saying at the time that "...part-owner, Qingbo Investment Co., has not fulfilled its commitment to, when necessary, finance NEVS’ activity...."
At the time NEVS expected the production shutdown to last 4 weeks, adding that "We are now seeking bridge solutions until sometime in June when we expect to have the result of the discussions with the intended partners,” - NEVs spokesman Mikael Ostlund.
Well, that four weeks is now at 12 weeks - and the bills seem to be mounting up all around the electric car maker.
Today Mr. Ostlund also added later to P4 Vast that "it has long been known that now unfortunately (NEVS) can not fully pay all of its suppliers but that the company is not insolvent."
We aren't quite sure that Mr. Ostlund quite understands the meaning of the word insolvent...but do hope the newly founded EV maker can figure out how to pay its bills and get the new SAAB 9-3 BEV on the road.
Ultimately, the most likely outcome from this situation is that the high pressure from legal action along with some bad PR, will convince NEVS to finally respond to the claimant and pay out this particular debt from their low cash funds to alleviate the situation. However, that action would likely also clear a path for other debtors to follow in hopes of being paid - which could lead the company into the same bankruptcy predicament again if new capital is not found.
Basically, NEVS really needs new capital to keep SAAB going, and it needs it fairly soon.
Update: Sure enough, it appears Labo Test has pulled the bankruptcy petition in hopes of securing all of the money owned to them in the future. NEVs apparently paid a visit (via SAABSUnited) to the CEOof Labo Test today, and then also posted the following statement on their website:
Nevs hereby clarify that the company is not insolvent. The company does not have enough liquid cash as today to pay all outstanding debt but Nevs’ assets are larger than its debt. Nevs today cannot say exactly when, but Nevs’ suppliers will get paid.
During the summer, the dialogues with the two major vehicle manufacturers have continued and developed in a positive direction. It is a thorough evaluation process that is still ongoing, and the discussions have not been finalized yet.
After the funding is secured, and after that Nevs business plan is updated together with its new partners, Nevs will be able to make the decision on when the Trollhattan factory can resume its production.
The company whose representative filed a bankruptcy petition has informed Nevs today that they will withdraw the case after the information they have got regarding the ongoing dialogues.