The board of the Swedish carmaker – owned wholly by troubled US giant General Motors – filed for the protection from its creditors after a meeting yesterday.
The ‘reorganisation’ procedure in Sweden is said to be akin to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US allowing the firm to restructure.
Saab’s board held an extraordinary meeting to decide the moves, which comes after the Swedish government rejected GM’s call for aid.
Saab managing director Jan Ake Jonsson said the move was ‘the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment’.
‘Reorganisation will give us the time and means that help get new products to market while minimising the liquidity impact of Saab on GM,’ Mr Jonsson said, referring to the company’s plans to launch three new cars this year.
GM told the US government it planned to make Saab an independent business by the start of 2010.
Funding to help boost the business is now being sought with the maker stating it aims to get this during the three month restructuring period.
The ‘reorganisation’ process means the company cannot pay off any debts built-up before the filing was made.
Saab has issued a press statement in the UK with a positive slant on the move saying it will allow the business to become a ‘fully independent business entity that would be sustainable and suitable for investment’.
‘The reorganisation is a self-managed, Swedish legal process headed by an independent administrator appointed by the court who will work closely with the Saab management team,’ said the statement.
‘As part of the process, Saab will formulate its proposal for reorganisation, which will include the concentration of design, engineering and manufacturing in Sweden.’
Boss Jan Ake Jonsson added: ‘We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal reorganisation would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment.
‘With an all new 9-5, 9-3X and 9-4X all ready for launch over the next year and a half, Saab has an excellent foundation for strong growth, assuming we can get the funding to complete engineering, tooling and manage launch costs.’