(Updates with creditor lawyer’s comment in sixth paragraph.)
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Creditors of Saab Cars North America Inc., the U.S. unit of the bankrupt Swedish automaker, are seeking to force the Saab unit into bankruptcy in the U.S.
More than 40 creditors, all of which are U.S.-based Saab dealerships, filed an involuntary Chapter 11 petition against Royal Oak, Michigan-based Saab Cars North America with claims totaling about $1.2 million.
Certain requirements must be met when creditors file an involuntary bankruptcy or the case can be thrown out. Typically, there should be three or more petitioning creditors that hold undisputed claims who can prove the company has repeatedly failed to pay its debts as they come due.
A phone call seeking comment to the Michigan headquarters of Saab Cars North America wasn’t immediately returned.
The dealerships have claims against the Saab unit for “unpaid warranty and incentive reimbursement and related obligations,” according to court documents.
The creditors want the vehicle inventory and the parts business to be sold, free of liens from Ally Financial Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., and “to have an appropriate forum to address the claims of the dealers,” Leonard A. Bellavia, a lawyer representing the dealers, said in an e-mail.
“The bankruptcy provides the best way to maximize the value of the assets and to have the dealers’ claims addressed in an impartial manner,” Bellavia added.
December Bankruptcy Filing
Saab Automobile, owned by Zeewolde, Netherlands-based manufacturer Swedish Automobile NV, filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 19 after running out of cash. Production at the plant in Trollhaettan, Sweden, halted for most of last year starting in March.
The company traces its roots to the establishment of aircraft manufacturer Svenska Aeroplan AB, which was set up in 1937 and began building cars 10 years later. The auto business was split off from the aerospace operations, now called Saab AB, in the 1990s, with General Motor Corp. gaining a 50 percent stake in 1990 and full control in 2000.
Brightwell Holdings BV, a Turkish private-equity firm, said it plans to bid for the bankrupt Swedish carmaker and revive its manufacturing.
The case is In re Saab Cars North America Inc., 12-10344, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
--With assistance from Ola Kinnander in Stockholm . Editors: John Pickering, Glenn Holdcraft
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