Rover administrators talking to possible buyers

Administrators to collapsed car giant MG Rover are talking to five companies interested in buying parts of the business and there was an "outside possibility" that some form of production could resume at the giant Longbridge plant, it was announced today.

Administrators to collapsed car giant MG Rover are talking to five companies interested in buying parts of the business and there was an "outside possibility" that some form of production could resume at the giant Longbridge plant, it was announced today.

Interest in the sports car side of the firm has been narrowed down to three potential viable proposals while discussions for the sale of the rest of the business and assets were continuing with two "credible" interested parties.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said it had asked potential bidders to provide proof of funds for their bids by last week and had examined these over the past few days.

Joint administrator Tony Lomas said the cost and complexity of the challenge of restarting car production at Longbridge should not be underestimated.

"Engine production would be a lesser, but still very demanding, challenge. The potential buyers are known to be looking at the alternative scenarios of continuing production at Longbridge or relocating it elsewhere," he said.

Proposals to buy the sports car business will now be explored in detail to see if one can go ahead.

Administrators were still discussing a sale of the rest of the business and assets with two interested parties, described as "credible".

Mr Lomas said they were keen to understand what rights had been obtained by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

"We can now provide them with a lot more positive information regarding these points as we have further examined the matter," said Mr Lomas.

Mr Lomas stressed: "While there is still an outside possibility that some form of car production could recommence at Longbridge, the cost and complexity of the challenge should not be underestimated."

Around 400 workers are still employed at MG Rover, helping to mothball Longbridge and support car sales activities in the UK and Europe.

A further 110 workers were still employed at the Powertrain engine business.

A meeting of the creditors will be held on June 10 to discuss development, PwC announced.

The administrators were called in last month after talks aimed at forging a partnership between MG Rover and SAIC collapsed.

Thousands of workers have since lost their jobs and there has been speculation that firms from countries including Iran and Russia were interested in buying MG Rover and restarting production.

The administrators would not say which companies remained involved in discussions.

Tony Woodley, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, said: "We've made it very clear from the beginning of this unfortunate saga that there is a business logic for car production to be resumed at Longbridge and that is still our goal as is well-known to bidders and potential bidders.

"There is one thing that should be made clear and that is whilst the trade unions will give support to a purchaser wishing to restart production, anyone who thinks they can 'lift and shift' on the cheap and steal tooling and machinery can expect major opposition."

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on

Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up