Gaz-owned manufacturer looks for government help after sales collapse
23 February 2009

Bosses at the van maker LDV have requested emergency financial support from the government following the collapse of the commercial vehicle market.

Sales have dropped by nearly a half over the last three months and production at the company's plant in Washwood Heath, Birmingham, has been shut down since before Christmas.

Russian car giant Gaz bought LDV from its private equity owners in August 2006 for around £50m. Gaz has made it clear that it cannot support the ailing firm any longer.

The company now believes that a management buy-out under the auspices of Gaz chief executive and former Volvo managing director Erik Eberhardsen offers the best chance of survival.

Eberhardsen said: "I am confident they understand the potential to secure this exciting green technology in Britain - and the need to move very quickly."

The plan requires 'short-term' bridging loans from the UK government and would involve retargeting the manufacturer at the green van market, which it is believed would have more chance of government funding.

Gaz is owned by influential Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, whose high-profile connections to UK business secretary Lord Mandelson could draw unwelcome attention to the proceedings.

It has been suggested LDV is the company that Unite leader Tony Woodley was referring to when he said that unspecified car plant was in need of serious financial help and could close within days.

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