Apr 29, 2011 By Ola Kinnander - Bloomberg
Saab AB (SAABB), the Swedish maker of the Gripen jet fighter, is focusing on winning smaller orders from as many as nine countries after being excluded from India’s military program, Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe said. Saab sees potential for Gripen orders in Brazil, Romania, Croatia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, Buskhe said in an interview today. Hungary and the Czech Republic are existing customers that may expand their orders, he said. “We feel good about the Gripen program, it has lots of potential,” Buskhe said, adding that it “remains a profitable business.”
India’s defense ministry informed Saab April 27 that the Gripen hadn’t been shortlisted for its plan to buy 126 jets. India is focusing on France’s Dassault Aviation SA (AM) and the European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. after also turning down Boeing Co. (BA) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), Buskhe said. Saab still has a “good chance” to win an order from Brazil, which initially plans to buy 36 planes, Buskhe said. The Stockholm-based company has “not received any negative signals” from Brazil, and hopes for a decision “within months,” the CEO said.
Saab said today that first-quarter net income rose to 279 million kronor ($46.5 million) from 69 million kronor, beating the average estimate of 205 million kronor in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts. The shares rose as much as 3 percent, or 4.1 kronor, and traded at 136.80 kronor, up 1 percent, at 2:11 p.m. in Stockholm. Saab has risen 11 percent this year, valuing the company at 14.9 billion kronor.