Group of U.S. dealers wants Saab placed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 1, 2012

A group composed of 41 Saab U.S. dealers wants Saab Cars North America to be placed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The involuntary Chapter 11 petition is now pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. Leonard Bellavia, the lawyer who represents 162 of Saab's 188 U.S. dealers, said that this petition was filed in the event that a “white knight” purchases Saab's parent and would seek to reorganize the North American operations.

Last Friday, the dealers threatened to file a Chapter 7 for involuntary liquidation. The petition cites individual dealer claims for unpaid warranty, incentive reimbursement and other obligations that range from $79.11 to $167,977.98.

Parent firm Saab Automobile AB had filed for liquidation in a Swedish bankruptcy court on Dec. 19. Operations were suspended by Saab Cars North America that day.

McTevia & Associates was then chosen to run its U.S. operations, giving it day-to-day control of the assets. According to Kurt Schirm, the president of the Saab Dealer Council, its dealers examined the liquidation plan prepared for Saab Car North America by McTevia & Associates.

However, the dealers said that an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy was in their best interests. Schirm said that the bankruptcy attorney who filed the petition doesn’t frequently see the open-ended third-party administration situations get resolved since they don't have the enforceability of a court, which could mandate the ruling. He also cited a situation wherein numerous lawsuits are filed “in different courts for different reasons in different jurisdictions” instead of having just one venue. [source: Autonews]

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