Russian billionaire Vladamir Antanov isn’t done with Saab yet. Forced out of the Saab deal when General Motors sold off the Swedish automaker to Spyker, he recently re-acquired the Spkyer brand from the combined Saab Spyker Automobiles through a British coachbuilder he’s heavily invested in.
Now Antanov is stirring up trouble suggesting Saab might miss its sales target of 80,000 vehicles. In a recent interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Industi, he said that Saab was more likely to achieve sales of 60,000 to 65,000 units for 2011.
Saab boss and Spyker founder Victor Muller has fought back, claiming that the original sales targets would in fact be met.
Antanov then went on to cast doubt on Spyker’s financing, commenting that without the current loan from the European Investment Bank Saab could go bankrupt in, “just a few days.”
But why would the EIB refuse the loan? It’s not a stretch to suggest that Antanov wants back in, and a change in ownership or control would require both the EIB and the Swedish government to sign off on the deal – and both parties might have a problem with Antanov’s alleged ties to the Russian mafia. Conveniently, Antanov happens to be well funded and could front some of the necessary funds, but even he admits coming up with enough to pay back the loan would require additional partners.