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Swedish Automobile In Push For Survival

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 4:18am

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Swedish Automobile NV, the parent company of Dutch luxury car maker Spyker and the now-bankrupt Saab Automobile, says it will push on with the sale of the Spyker brand and issue new shares in a bid for survival, in spite of an exodus of its supervisory board.

The company, known as "Swan", said Wednesday that it was in negotiations to sell Spyker. In September it announced it planned to sell the brand to U.S. private equity firm North Street Capital for €32 million ($41 million).

"Based on the current situation, the proceeds of the sale would not allow Swan to meet its liabilities in full," the company warned in a statement Wednesday.

"If Swan is not able to complete a sale of the Spyker business or otherwise secure further financing for Spyker and/or Swan, management will likely not be able to safeguard the continuity of Swan" it added.

Swan has released few details about Spyker's finances since it acquired the much larger Saab in 2010. The carmaker went bankrupt in December, costing 3,000 Swedish workers their jobs.

Much of Spyker's debt is held by Tenaci Capital BV, a private company controlled by Swan chief executive Victor Muller and funded at least in part by Russian tycoon Vladimir Antonov.

Separately, Swan also announced Wednesday that its entire three-member supervisory board, including its chairman, had resigned. In addition, the only remaining member of the company's managing board other than Muller had also resigned, Swan said, apparently leaving Muller alone at the top.

All left "as a result of a difference of opinion with Swan's CEO Mr. Victor Muller as to the funding alternatives available to Swan after the recent bankruptcy of Swan's subsidiary Saab Automobile AB and the future of Swan and its remaining subsidiary Spyker," the company said.

Under Swan's articles of association, the holder of a single priority share in Swan — believed to be Antonov — is empowered to name members of a new supervisory board.

Swan said Wednesday the prospective share issue would be for 2.5 million shares, as guaranteed under a previous agreement with GEM Global Yield Fund Limited. But Swan said it could not say whether that many shares will actually be sold, or at what price.

"In order to continue its activities, it is critical that funding is secured, amongst others by means of the GEM facility," Swan said.

The Zeewolde, Netherlands-based company did not respond to requests for further information.

Shares in the company fell 12 percent to €0.22 cents, representing a market capitalization of around €5.7 million.

 

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