Two more MG Rover dealerships have been shut by administrators, and one run by one of the so-called “Phoenix Four”, John Edwards, a director of MG Rover owner Phoenix Venture Holdings, has gone into administration.
Edwards Cars Limited is a dealership in Stratford-upon-Avon with 43 employees. In the year ended 31 December 2003 it had turnover of about £7.8 million and reported a loss of £968,000.
Rob Hunt, joint administrator and partner PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “Following the administration of MG Rover Group Limited, the directors of Edwards Cars Limited felt the company would be unable to meet its financial obligations as they fell due. Therefore the directors were left with no alternative but to seek an administration order. We will work with management to evaluate the options for the business.”
Following a review of the business at Phoenix Venture Motors, the joint administrators have closed two more dealerships. Rednal and Bromsgrove have now been closed, following the closure of Muswell Hill, Northampton and Oxford earlier last week.
However, the remaining six sites (Preston, Chorley, Coventry, Hatfield, Romford and Kidderminster) continue to trade as usual whilst efforts are progressed to determine the level of interest in each of the sites and the prospects of achieving a going concern sale in each case.
In the meantime, the administrators have launched a sales campaign whereby vehicles will be sold with discounts against list price. Each of the sites continues to operate a servicing and repair centre and discounts have also been applied for these services.
Rob Hunt said: “Following a further review of the business, a decision has now been taken to retain six of the 11 dealerships. We have today launched a sales campaign at each of the retained sites with discounts being applied against list prices. Each of the sites will be used as a distribution channel for both new and used MG Rover vehicles whilst efforts continue to secure a long term future for each location.”
Tony Lomas, Steven Pearson and Rob Hunt, partners in PricewaterhouseCoopers, have now also been appointed joint administrators to MG Rover Exports Limited, which acts as an inter-company purchasing conduit between MG Rover UK and dealers networks worldwide (including MG Rover’s eight European subsidiaries), yielding a cashflow timing advantage in its VAT position.
The administrators intend to continue to trade the business, which has no employees and few non-group creditors, as usual while they explore options particularly in respect of its remaining unsold non-UK specification vehicles.
Steven Pearson, joint administrator said: “Our appointment as administrators to MG Rover Exports Limited should enable us to supply left-hand drive vehicles to the worldwide market in a controlled way for the benefit of all concerned.
“There are no employees in this business which was put in place in order to assist in the group’s working capital position.”