Saab unable to pay wages, blames delayed funding

Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Struggling Swedish car maker Saab <SWAN.AS> said on Tuesday it cannot pay almost half of its workforce this month because it has not received the funds it had expected, reviving fears about its precarious finances.

Saab has lurched from one cash crisis to another in recent months, seeking funds so that it can restart production.

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Car assembly was halted in April when suppliers refused to deliver parts until they were paid, and Saab only narrowly fended off a demand for one of its units to be declared bankrupt last week.

The company's woes deepened on Tuesday when Saab said it had delayed payment of wages to its white-collar employees because some of the funds committed by investors were not paid in time.

Saab spokesman Eric Geers said the decision affects about 1,600 people out of 3,640 employees, around 45 percent of its staff, but declined to say when they would be paid or how much money Saab still needed so that it could pay wages.

"The money has been committed, the only thing is, it has been delayed. This is very, very unfortunate for those people who have been affected," Geers said.

Shares in Saab fell, dropping as much as 20.8 percent, before partially recovering to trade down 11.6 percent at 1.485 euros, the biggest decliner on Amsterdam's bourse.

The company said it is taking all necessary steps to collect the funds and continues talks with various parties to obtain additional short-term funding.

(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block in Amsterdam and Simon Johnson in Stockholm)

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