UK: MG Rover administrators to pay factory rent to progress sale - paper
MG Rover's administrators are expected to pay a part of the rent due today on the Longbridge car factory to enable them to progress with the sale of all or parts of the business, according to a report in London's Evening Standard newspaper.
The paper said hopes are growing that some of the 403-acre site will be saved for car making with at least one bid for the MG sports car business, from a group led by Fraser Welford-Winten, former head of Rover's engines arm, with US investor backing.
The paper said the group wants to produce 30,000 MGs and Austin Healeys a sports car last made in the 1960s by its third year, using two existing Longbridge plants. Plans reportedly include a revamped MG Midget selling for £14,000. Austin Healeys may be priced at between £30,000 and £60,000.
Birmingham businessman Martyn Moseley is thought to be pursuing the whole of MG Rover, as are consortiums led by Chinese carmakers Nanjing Auto and China Geely, the Evening Standard said.
According to the paper, developer St Modwen Properties bought the Longbridge site in two deals in 2003 and 2004 for £57.5 million, agreeing to lease it back to MG Rover for 35 years at an annual rent of £5 million.
The next quarterly rent payment is due by Friday night but administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers have legal powers to force St Modwen to accept a series of smaller payments spread over the quarter, the report said.