By David Hewson
BL has abandoned hopes that a consortium led by Aston Martin can rescue the MG car plant at Abingdon. The 900 employees at the plant will be told of BL’s plans for the site on Thursday, but it seems likely that the company will bring forward its original scheme to shut down production by the end of the year.
Mr Pratt Thompson, chairman of BL International, which handles disposals said last night that the Aston consortium had failed to raise sufficient capital to finance its plan to buy MG. The consortium agreed in March to buy the plant from BL but some of its British backers withdrew their support last week after the publication of a series of disastrous sales figures for the car industry.
“The possibility for raising venture capital is extremely difficult at the moment and it is even more difficult for anything in the automotive area”, Mr Thompson said. He denied that agreement might have been reached if BL had been willing to part with the MG marque, which would have allowed the consortium to produce new MG models.
Mr Alan Curtis, chairman of Aston Martin had been planning to fly to Japan later this week in a final attempt to save the consortium, but BL made it clear yesterday that they regard his chances of success as nil. Because of poor sales. Abingdon has been working a three day week since May and losing £1-6m a month. It is producing 400 cars per week but BL already has 13,000 unsold MGBs on its hands throughout the world.