Russian tycoons keen on MG Rover say reports

TWO Russian tycoons are interested in buying collapsed British car manufacturer MG Rover, it was reported yesterday.

The millionaire owner of sports car maker TVR, Nikolai Smolenski, has approached administrator PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) about buying the Longbridge-based group, according to reports.

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is believed to be a close friend of Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, has also told PWC he is interested in acquiring the business, said a British newspaper.

A PWC spokesman said the administrators had received expressions of interest in MG Rover from companies in a number of countries including Russia, but was unable to comment further.

Mr Smolenski has an estimated personal fortune €77 million and paid a reputed €22m for Blackpool-based TVR last July.

The “baby oligarch” is in his mid-20s and is the son of banking tycoon Alexander Smolenski, one of Russia’s 100 richest men and a funder of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin in the mid-1990s.

Nikolai Smolenski is thought to have toured Longbridge last week to take a detailed look at the assets on offer and is said to be interested in making the group’s full range of cars.

When he bought TVR last year, he was reported as saying he had always been a fan of British car manufacturing and believed the best automotive designers and engineers were in Britain.

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