Press Report : LDV rescue to result in “lift and shift” to China?

Jon Griffin, Birmingham Post, 18th September, 2009

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Birmingham van-maker LDV is facing D-Day in its nine-month battle for survival – amid claims that more than 800 West Midland jobs may be sacrificed to China in an MG Rover-style “lift and shift” operation.

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC Group), backed by broker Dr. Qu Li of China Ventures, was said to be key to the future of the Washwood Heath-based van-maker and around 4,000 UK jobs, according to sources. A period of exclusive talks with LDV Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers was set to expire on Friday (September 18) as fears grew that virtually all West Midland production jobs could be lost to China.

SAIC are in pole position. There is a real interest in getting the vehicle over to China and producing it over there. In all likelihood they will flatten Washwood Heath and take the equipment over there. I am not even sure they are interested in keeping the land and buildings as assets. They would just strip everything out and take it over to China.” A former LDV Group supplier

A supplier owed thousands of pounds by LDV claimed that, if the alleged SAIC Group deal went through, the vast majority of jobs would be lost and Maxus production eventually moved lock, stock and barrel to China. The supplier said: “SAIC are in pole position. There is a real interest in getting the vehicle over to China and producing it over there.

“In all likelihood they will flatten Washwood Heath and take the equipment over there. I am not even sure they are interested in keeping the land and buildings as assets. They would just strip everything out and take it over to China.

“The Maxus would be built in Shanghai alongside the Roewe. It looks like the loss of 4,000 jobs, and, if that happens, these jobs will not come back. If it goes to China, the suppliers lose out; unsecured creditors will get nothing. This is MG Rover all over again. The comparisons are extremely strong and it’s the same brokers involved, with Qu Li.”

 Will LDV’s Maxus vans be built in Shanghai?

Will LDV’s Maxus vans be built in Shanghai?

The supplier’s claims that SAIC Group, backed by Qu Li’s China Ventures, were in talks with PwC came just 24 hours after Malaysian group Weststar issued a statement denying it had walked away from the bargaining table.

The Maxus would be built in Shanghai alongside the Roewe. It looks like the loss of 4,000 jobs, and, if that happens, these jobs will not come back. If it goes to China, the suppliers lose out; unsecured creditors will get nothing. This is MG Rover all over again. The comparisons are extremely strong and it’s the same brokers involved, with Qu Li.” A former LDV Group supplier

The supplier source said: “It’s defintely SAIC Group involved here and China Ventures are effectively the brokers for the deal. Weststar are behind the scenes but no-one really knows what they are trying to do. Their statement simply says they are retaining a continued interest.

“But because Weststar and SAIC Group were effectively given joint bidding, I quite genuinely do not know if that means they could both put in a bid. The former Directors of LDV only know snippets. There has been talk of production in the UK, in the same way as MG at Longbridge, but it is difficult to believe it will ever happen.”

The supplier claimed SAIC Group’s business plan for the UK involved just 50 workers at the Washwood Heath factory producing less than 1,000 vans a year.

LDV Administrator Rob Hunt of PricewaterhouseCoopers could not be contacted for comment. He confirmed earlier this week that the period of exclusivity was drawing to a close.

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Posted in: AROnline News, LDV
Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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  1. Ian Elliott says:

    Surely some mistake? LDV sold their site to Advantage West Midlands some time ago, so there’s no question of SAIC or anyone else keeping the premises – unless they want to buy it!

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