21 Feb 2009

Saab wins creditor protection

9:32 am on 21 February 2009

Loss-making Swedish carmaker Saab, which is part of General Motors, has won protection from creditors while it tries to find a new partner and raise fresh funds.

General Motors, itself facing mountainous debts and an uncertain future, refuses to continue funding Saab's losses.

In a plan submitted to the US Treasury this week, GM said the Swedish firm would become an independent business from 1 January 2010.

Saab said it lost about 3 billion crowns ($US340 million) in 2008, according to documents filed with the Swedish court that granted the company a stay of execution.

It expects a similar loss this year, blaming slack demand, ageing products, overcapacity and high costs.

Any restructuring would need the approval of Saab's creditors, who will meet on 6 April.

The company is one of Sweden's best known brands and has been making cars in the industrial town of Trollhatten in the southwest of the country since 1949.