(USA Today) -- Saab filed for bankruptcy receivership in Sweden Monday, giving up on its scramble for a Chinese rescue after General Motors again said it would not sign off on needed technology transfers to new Chinese owners, Saab owner Swedish Automobile said.
Swedish Automobile (formerly Spyker Cars) has been working on a deal since June for a rescue by Chinese carmaker Youngman Lotus and distributor Pang Da Automotive in exchange for majority control. It has been operating since September under a court-protected attempt to reorganize and was continuing to try to devise a structure for the deal that would meet GM's objections.
GM sold Saab in 2010, but still holds preferred shares as a result of the deal and owns much of the technology underlying Saab's current models. It has balked at licensing that technology to owners in China, where GM does substantial business with Chinese partner SAIC, saying it would not be in the interest of GM shareholders (which still include the U.S. Treasury, i.e. taxpayers).
Saab said Monday in statement:
"After having received the recent position of GM on the contemplated transaction with Saab Automobile, Youngman informed Saab Automobile that the funding to continue and complete the reorganization of Saab Automobile could not be concluded. The Board of Saab Automobile subsequently decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors. It is expected that the Court will approve of the filing and appoint receivers for Saab Automobile very shortly."
During the reorganization attempt, Saab's about 3,600 workers' wages have been guaranteed by the Swedish government. Saab production has been virtually shut down since it ran short of cash in April. It was late with monthly paychecks all summer and has substantial debts to suppliers.
Now the Trollhaettan, Sweden-based company is headed for liquidation. Swedish Automobile says it expects its stake in Saab to be wiped out and it "will write off its interest in Saab Automobile completely."
Saab had made cars since 1949. GM bought 50% in 1989 and all of the company in 2000, but Saab continued to be a financial drag until it was sold.