Saab Assets Cover Just a Third of its Debt

Auto and Powertrain division creditors see weakening prospect of payback.

Bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab (IW 1000/840) has assets of only $531 million, covering just over a third of its debt of $1.9 billion, bankruptcy administrators said April 10.

"The debts in the bankruptcy amount to a total of 13 billion kronor [$1.9 billion]. The assets have been valued at a total of 3.6 billion [$531 million]," the two administrators Hans Bergqvist and Anne-Marie Pouteaux said in a report submitted to the Vaenersborg district court.

This report came as the deadline to place bids for Saab, which filed for bankruptcy in Dec., expired.

Saab's bankruptcy estate concerns three Saab companies -- Saab Automobile, Saab Tools and Saab Powertrain.

Most of the creditors in Saab Tools can expect to be paid, due to certain preferential regulations, while those in the two other companies will have a harder time getting their money, the administrators said.

Those who stand to lose the most include Saab's 3,600 employees, the Swedish tax authorities and various suppliers, who are among those due a total of $1 billion.

Sweden's National Debt Office, which has a credit line of $325 million with Saab, will meanwhile get its money back, the report said.

The administrators have consistently refused to disclose any information about possible bids placed for Saab Automobile, although Chinese carmaker Youngman is known to be interested in buying the iconic Swedish brand.

Swedish media have reported that Youngman placed a preliminary bid in late January or early February of about $298 million.

Youngman has long been interested in Saab and tried to snap it up before it declared bankruptcy but those efforts were thwarted by the Saab's former owner, General Motors (IW 500/5), which balked at transferring the necessary technology licences.

Reports have also surfaced that Indian commercial utility vehicles manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra has placed a bid as well.

Saab was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it in early 2010 to Dutch company Swedish Automobile (SWAN) -- at the time called Spyker -- for $400 million.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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