Saab to Staff: Go Home for Two More Weeks

While production at cash-strapped Swedish automaker Saab’s factory will be down for two more weeks, the company needs the 800 suppliers to accept their repayment scheme by  Assembly line workers were informed at a Monday meeting that they would not be needed back at work until Monday, July 4, several Swedish media said.

To pick up the pace quickly once production starts again, the factory will only close for two weeks over the summer holidays, postponing two holiday weeks until later in the year, spokeswoman Gunilla Gustavs told news agency TT.

“What’s important for us is to return to production, and what is needed for that is to get an agreement with the suppliers for the material to be delivered to the plant in a coordinated way,” she said in an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR).

Saab’s main factory stood still for over seven weeks during April and May as suppliers halted their deliveries to Saab over unpaid bills.

Production started up again on May 27 but stopped again on June 8 when the company complained it was missing components for the assembly line.

Last week, Saab’s Dutch owner Spyker announced it planned to hand over majority control of Saab to two Chinese companies, distributor Pang Da Automobile and car manufacturer Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, in a bid to secure last-ditch rescue funding.

While observers hailed the deal, which also boosted Spyker’s share price, they cautioned it might not go through quickly enough to secure the desperately-needed short-term cash Saab needs to stay afloat.

Saab, which employs 3,800 people, was rescued at the last minute in early 2010 when tiny Dutch company Spyker bought it for 400 million dollars from US auto giant General Motors.

After initial optimistic statements and production forecasts, Spyker and Saab have recently been scrambling to pull together enough cash to keep production going and suppliers happy.

Saab wants an answer from 800 suppliers latest by today if they will accept the proposed payment plan of 10 percent of the monies owed to start supplying the carmaker with the parts they need to re-start production.

“We need a positive answer from all of them in order to be able to coordinate a start in the beginning of July,” said Gustavs to news agency TT.

Saab promised to begin paying back the rest of the monies owed in the autumn.

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