James set to make bid for Rover

A consortium led by businessman David James has expressed an intent to bid for MG Rover within the next 48 hours.

Earlier this month, Mr James outlined a rescue plan for the beleaguered car manufacturer, but his initial bid collapsed when Chinese firm, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) refused to take on certain Rover assets and companies.

Mr James’s blueprint for the future of MG Rover involved the division of the company’s assets, with the MG brand becoming a separate spin-off company, to capitalise on the marque’s strong standing. SAIC’s role in the break-up of the company would be to acquire Rover’s engine-making division, Powertrain, with an undertaking to buy Rover’s remaining assets in a year’s time, in return for access to the UK car market.

However, SAIC declined to commit to the plan, and ruled itself out from involvement in a bid. Without SAIC’s cooperation, Mr James’ consortium were unable to raise the funds needed to purchase MG Rover.

Speaking today, Mr James said that his consortium now had the funds in place to launch a bid for the carmaker – but that the issue of a buyer for Powertrain still remained an integral part of the final deal.

He also reaffirmed his commitment to continuing operations at Rover’s Longbridge plant, albeit on a small-scale. He added: “We don’t believe in the mass production concept. We believe in niche products, and this is exactly where we are going with our bid.”

The news follows yesterday’s announcement that SAIC has submitted a bid in the region of £60 million, in partnership with Ford of Europe’s former head of operations, Martin Leach. Another Chinese company, Nanjing Automobile, has also registered an interest in MG Rover, which went bankrupt earlier this year. It is thought that both bids from the Asian firms would entail some proportion of Rover’s assets being exported to China, although both bids have outlined an intention to retain a degree of manufacturing activity at the Longbridge plant.

Rovers' administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers have set an October deadline for concluding a deal, but it is likely that a decision on a sale will come within the next ten days.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 August 2007
Fourth Arrest Over Biker Murder
A fourth man has been arrested in connection with the murder of biker Gerard Tobin. Mr Tobin, 35, of south London was shot dead as he travelled home on the M40 from the Bulldog Bash bikers' festival at Long Marston near Stratford, Warwickshire on August 12.
25 February 2005
Concern over jobs cuts at MG Rover
There is continuing speculation that up to 2000 jobs may be under threat at UK car manufacturer MG Rover as the company seeks to clinch an investment deal with a Chinese automotive group.
12 April 2005
Directors offer £49 million to aid MG Rover
The owners of the beleaguered MG Rover group have pledged £49 million in assets in a bid to help save the company.
19 November 2012
Virgin Win London To Scotland Flight Routes
Virgin Atlantic has been offered the rights to operate Heathrow links to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Sir Richard Branson's airline bid successfully for the London landing slots formerly operated by BMI. The slots were released to others by regulators as a condition of allowing the takeover earlier this year of BMI by British Airways' owner IAG.
11 July 2005
James drops plans to buy MG Rover
Businessman David James has dropped his plans to buy collapsed car manufacturer MG Rover. Mr James was part of a consortium that planned to purchase Rover, which went bankrupt earlier this year, and continue to manufacture cars at the Longbridge plant.