Chinese consortium SAIC has requested that all bids for MG Rover be published after claiming that it made a higher offer to acquire the stricken company than rival manufacturer Nanjing.
Chinese consortium Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has requested that all bids for MG Rover be published after claiming that it made a higher offer to acquire the stricken company than rival manufacturer Nanjing.
According to SAIC was also considering legal action to prevent Nanjing from making certain MG models, for which it claims to have exclusive intellectual property rights. The company is retaliating after PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) the administrators of the Longbridge-based company, agreed on Friday to sell MG Rover to Nanjing for up to R720 million.
PwC announced at the weekend that it chose Nanjing’s bid over rival offers by SAIC and other groups because “it was higher and had no conditions attached”.
The move ensured a limited return of production at the Midlands factory, where 6 000 workers had been employed until the collapse of MG Rover in April. Nanjing Automobile, a state-owned enterprise with 16 000 employees, is China’s oldest car manufacturer, but much smaller than SAIC, which produced 600 000 vehicles last year.
“Until late last week Shanghai had offered to acquire only the Powertrain assets. On Monday of this week Shanghai submitted a conditional bid for all of the MG Rover and Powertrain assets,” a spokesman for PwC said. “However the level and conditionality of Shanghai’s bid left Nanjing as the preferred way forward.
“Nanjing will now begin to take control of the assets and hire staff to assist it in implementing and developing its strategy. It has indicated its intention to relocate the engine plant and some of the car production plant to China, to retain some car production plant in the UK and to develop an R&D and technical facility here in pursuit of the same global expansion ambition that it had when it joined with Shanghai as the intended joint venture partners to Phoenix Venture Holdings before the collapse of MG Rover.
“For a transition period a residual workforce will continue to be employed by MG Rover Group and Powertrain, assisting the administrators as they have for the last three and a half months,” he added.
However, SAIC on Sunday claimed it believed that its bid for the stricken British company was higher than Nanjing’s and it wants to force PwC to reconsider the offer. A SAIC spokesman said: “The lack of clarity is that neither offer has been published by the administrator, so that nobody is able to see.”
SAIC bought the rights to the Rover 25 and 75 and to the K and L-series engines for R804 million last year. It argues that it can legally prevent Nanjing from making the MG variants of the Rover 25 and 75 models because they bear many similarities.