STOCKHOLM – Sweden's Debt Enforcement Agency started collection proceedings against Saab Automobile after the cash-starved carmaker failed to meet a Tuesday deadline to pay two suppliers, an official at the regulator said.
''We've just begun by looking at what kind of bank accounts they have and what kind of collateral there might be" in the process that started Wednesday, Tommy Barkman, a case worker at the state agency, said in a telephone interview.
Saab was supposed to pay Kongsberg Automotive AB, a Norwegian manufacturer of car-seat parts, and Infotiv AB, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based consulting firm, a combined 4 million kronor ($633,000) to avert the proceedings. The "big majority" of the money is owed to Kongsberg, Hans Ryberg, a division chief at the enforcement agency, said on Tuesday.
Saab was forced to halt production in late March amid a cash crunch, and the automaker's Trollhaettan factory in Sweden has been quiet since early June. Saab is trying to raise more funds and has said it aims to restart manufacturing in a few weeks. Swedish Automobile NV, Saab's Dutch owner, sold 4 million new shares to GEM Global Yield Fund Ltd. on Monday in an effort to raise further cash.
Another 5.1 million kronor ($792,200) is due to more suppliers in about a week, Ryberg said, adding that he doesn't know the amount that Saab owes.
More than 100 debt claims against Saab have been filed with the collection agency, with some companies filing more than one claim, and eight proceeding to ask for the regulator's involvement, an agency spokeswoman said last month.
"We're in contact with the collection agency, but we can't comment any more than that," Eric Geers, a spokesman at Saab, said by telephone Thursday.
The collection process usually takes from one to three months, and can be halted in the event Saab pays the debts involved, Barkman said. At the end of the procedure, the Swedish Tax Authority can request that Saab be put into bankruptcy in the absence of payments.