Saab to Lay Off One Third of Staff

Copyright Joe Raedle

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Saab to Lay Off One Third of Staff

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), the Chinese-owned company created to buy Saab in June 2012 after it filed for bankruptcy, said the decision was "due to lack of work."

STOCKHOLM -- Saab, which is trying to resolve serious financial difficulties by attracting new investors, said Wednesday it was cutting 200 jobs, more than one third of its workforce.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), the Chinese-owned company created to buy Saab in June 2012 after it filed for bankruptcy, said the decision was "due to lack of work."

Production at the historic industrial site of Trollhaettan, southwestern Sweden, halted in late May, when Nevs was unable to pay its suppliers.

"The terminations will take place in September in order to rapidly reduce the company's costs during the reorganization period," Nevs said.

The company said that if negotiations with new investors succeeded, it would be able to resume production with the remaining 350 employees.

However, Nevs did not specify the status of the negotiations and added that "a start-up of production will take time."

The powerful IF Metall metalworkers union was pessimistic.

"Faithful and competent auto workers are being laid off again, and the faith in the future that many felt in Trollhaettan runs the risk of turning to resignation," IF Metall head Anders Ferbe said.

According to Swedish media, Nevs – 78% owned by China's National Modern Energy Holdings and 22% by the Chinese city of Qingdao -- is in negotiation with automakers Mahindra (India) and Dongfeng (China).

Since 2000, Saab automobile has had no connection with the defense and aeronautics firm with the same name. It only produces one model today, the electric 9-3 Aero Sedan, mainly targeting the Chinese market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

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