Jon Griffin, Birmingham Post, 18th June, 2009
Hopes that LDV could rise from the ashes have risen with up to nine firms already throwing their hats in the ring for the collapsed van maker. The prospect of a takeover at the mothballed Washwood Heath plant grew after the Administrators revealed that the firms had signed confidentiality agreements to examine the van maker’s books.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has set a deadline of the middle of next week for initial bids for the Washwood Heath company, which collapsed into insolvency last week with the loss of more than 800 jobs amid debts of over £75 million. However, chances of a partial jobs rescue increased after PwC revealed it had already received more than 30 expressions of interest – and nine would-be buyers have signed agreements to conduct further due diligence.
Among those are Malaysian group Weststar, which pulled out of a plan to buy LDV after weeks of discussions, with other names in the frame said to be Indian group Mahindra and Mahindra and Chinese car firm Nanjing, who bought MG Rover in July 2005.
Administrator Mark Hopkins, of PwC, said: “There are in excess of 30 interested parties who have made contact with us, and of those, eight or nine have signed confidentiality agreements which enable them to receive further information. We will be inviting interested parties to submit their first round indicative offers by the middle of next week. The reason we want the offers in next week is to distil it down to see what the interest is. There is a complete mixed bag of interested parties – some based in the UK and some from overseas.”
Nine would-be buyers have signed agreements to conduct further due diligence. Among those are Malaysian group Weststar, which pulled out of a plan to buy LDV after weeks of discussions, with other names in the frame said to be Indian group Mahindra and Mahindra and Chinese car firm Nanjing, who bought MG Rover in July 2005.
Only a skeleton staff of about 40 people have been retained at the van making factory by PwC as the hunt to find a buyer continues.
Meanwhile, more than 350 former workers visited Washwood Heath Jobcentre Plus last weekend to find out about the help and support available to them following LDV’s collapse. The Jobcentre was opened exclusively for the workers to process their claims and to provide advice to help them get back into work as quickly as possible. Jobcentre Plus staff were joined by advisers from the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, HM Revenue and Customs, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Birmingham City Council.
Cathy Beck, of Jobcentre Plus, said: “We opened Washwood Heath Jobcentre over the weekend, as we wanted to be able to provide the best service possible for LDV workers. They were all able to receive dedicated one-to-one support from our advisers and also get the opportunity to speak to people from other specialist organisations. All of the Jobcentre Plus staff who were in at the weekend volunteered to work. They are all very keen to help the LDV workers.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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