It's been a shaky time for Saab as the Swedish automaker attempts to regain footing after being sold to Spyker by GM. Besides struggling to push new product, such as the 9-5 sedan, to luxury car buyers, the company was having money problems and was unable to pay suppliers. As a result, production at the Swedish factory was forced to shut down until a financial solution could be found.
Fortunately, a solution has been found in the form of Russian banker and financer Vladimir Antonov. The deal involves Saab selling real estate, including their production plant, to the Russian billionaire who will then lease the property back to them. The Swedish government has approved this plan, which is said to be bring in somewhere around €30 million for Saab in the first phase. Saab's total real estate was valued at much higher than that. Antonov was previously one of Spyker's major shareholders before it bought Saab from GM.
However, he was forced to sell his shares, due to suspected involvement in organized crime, before GM would approve of the sale. Now he's back in the car business and the Swedish government is holding the real estate as collateral for a €400 million loan from the European Investment Bank to Saab. In other words, not only is Saab receiving desperately needed funds to survive, but Antonov will likely now have influence in Saab's future.