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Rescue bid for MG Rover

2005-07-19 14:45

"SAIC Motor has today announced that it has submitted an offer to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the joint administrators of MG Rover Group Limited and Powertrain Limited, for the combined assets of the two companies," it said. PwC would not confirm the offer when contacted.

The bid was believed to be worth around £60m(R698.79m) and would be fully funded by the Chinese carmaker.

In response, businessman David James announced he had put together a British-backed bid to prevent MG Rover from falling into Chinese hands and has started raising money for the bid.

Three possible buyers are in talks with administrators in the race for MG Rover - thought to be SAIC, its mainland rival Nanjing Automobile and James' consortium.

"SAIC believes that (its) proposal represents a compelling proposition for the creditors of the two companies" comprising of MG Rover and its engine firm Powertrain, SAIC added.

"The offer envisages a strategic collaboration with Magma Holdings Limited, which will focus on the development and distribution of new models and a resumption of car production at Longbridge."

Last week SAIC signed a letter of intent for a strategic collaboration with bid vehicle Magma, founded by Martin Leach, ex-head of Ford of Europe, and Edward Sabisky, a former General Motors executive.

Barrie Wills, spokesman for his bid - entitled Project Kimber - said: "This is the last chance to save Britain's largest independent car maker from falling into overseas ownership.

"It is a credible, fully funded bid with a strong management team that has varied and extensive expertise working in the motor industry."

He also spoke of a "pragmatic and realistic business plan that will see the brand develop over the coming years and job development at Longbridge". The initiative has been mainly centred on the MG-TF sports car.

Century-old MG Rover, which produced the Mini and Jaguar, was forced to axe 6 000 workers in April when it closed the Longbridge plant in Birmingham after a failed tie-up with SAIC helped push it into bankruptcy.

However, there has been speculation that up to 2 000 jobs could be created within the next few years at the Birmingham plant if production is revived, but no official figure has been put forward.

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