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Just-Auto: Manganese taxi administrators urgently call for investors to step forward

02/11/2012

By Simon Warburton

London taxi manufacturer, Manganese Bronze, has appointed administrators who say they are in discussion with several parties interested in taking over the company, but are urging potential investors to make themselves known.

Matthew Hammond, Tony Barrell, Ian Green and Mike Jervis from PwC have been appointed joint administrators of Manganese Bronze Holdings, LTI, MBH Services and MBH Property Services.

“Our immediate priority is to secure funding in order to explore the options rapidly developed by the management team and key suppliers to resolve the steering box recall,” said Matthew Hammond, joint administrator and PwC partner.

“We are reviewing the existing financial position to develop a range of options to rescue the business or alternatively dispose of it to an investor that can continue the business to a secure future for the iconic London Black Cab.

“We have immediately commenced discussions with an encouraging list of UK and International interested parties and would encourage any further interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency.”

The Group is the manufacturer and retailer of the London taxi, sold in the UK and abroad. It provides a retail and maintenance service through its wholly-owned dealerships throughout the UK, under the trading name The London Taxi Company. 

It has a turnover of GBP75m (US$120m) and 277 employees in total including three overseas staff. Some 175 employees are based at the Group’s head office and manufacturing site located in Coventry with the remaining personnel spread across dealerships in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coventry.

The Group has been making losses for four years due to a combination of poor UK sales, supply chain issues, and high warranty costs. These issues were further impacted by the material accounting errors in the first half of 2012 which increased the extent of the Group’s losses.

A statement from the company noted: “More recently, the discovery of a steering fault resulted in the recall of around 400 vehicles and a suspension of sales which had an immediate detrimental impact on the Group’s cash flows.

“Following a suspension of its shares earlier this month, the Group has been unable to secure sufficient funding. Without financial support to overcome these operational issues, the Group came to the conclusion it could not continue to trade as a going concern.

“As a result the directors placed the Group into administration. LTI is concentrating all its resources on fixing the steering fault. The administrators have entered into discussions with key stakeholders to secure funding to support the business through this period whilst the administrators seek a sale of the business and assets as a going concern.”

http://www.just-auto.com/news/london-taxi-administrators-issue-urgent-call_id128562.aspx

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