Jon Griffin, Birmingham Post, 25th June, 2009
Hundreds of workers have been given fresh hope LDV could be rescued within a month as a range of “very credible” bidders prepare to battle it out for the stricken van maker. With the hours running out before today’s deadline for first round bids, Administrators handling the collapse of the Washwood Heath factory said “clarity” over the future of the van maker was likely in just two to three weeks.
Administrator Mark Hopkins of PricewaterhouseCoopers said he was “encouraged” by the interest in the van-maker – with up to nine firms signing confidentiality agreements ahead of possible further due diligence. “We are inviting interested parties to submit their first round indicative offers by close of play today,” he said.
“There have been many conversations with interested parties over the last week and some of them will be complying with our request they submit their bids by close of play today. In the next couple of days, we will be evaluating the proposals submitted and considering what due diligence requirements interested parties may have. There are eight or nine parties who have signed non-disclosure agreements and they have received further information.
“As things stand at the moment, I am encouraged there are a number of very credible parties who have signed non-disclosure agreements with us. The fact there is a range of interested parties out there is very encouraging. If I were being optimistic, there should be some clarity around this within the next two to three weeks.”
As things stand at the moment, I am encouraged there are a number of very credible parties who have signed non-disclosure agreements with us. The fact there is a range of interested parties out there is very encouraging. If I were being optimistic, there should be some clarity around this within the next two to three weeks.” Mark Hopkins of PwC, Administrator, LDV Group Limited
Mr Hopkins said the future course of “detailed discussions and negotiations” with would-be buyers was difficult to predict. However, names said to be already in the frame for LDV include Malaysian group Weststar, which pulled out of a plan to buy the van maker after weeks of discussions, Indian group Mahindra and Mahindra and Chinese car firm Nanjing.
Mr Hopkins did not rule out a later bid for the factory in addition to the nine potential bidders who have signed confidentiality agreements – but said delayed bids would be less advanced in the process.
He said the fragile state of the UK commercial vehicle market was also clouding the bidding process and added: “Some parties themselves are unclear how to take these proposals forward – what sort of business they envisage. We can’t really help them with that – they have to form their own views themselves as to the emerging state of the market.”
LDV collapsed amid debts of around £75 million more than two weeks ago after the factory had been at a standstill for six months, with no vans built since before Christmas. A total of 810 workers have been made redundant, with a skeleton staff of just 37 retained to maintain the factory.
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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