Coventry Taxi Maker LTI Sold for 11.4m

_65639069_danielliandmatthewhammond002
The black taxi manufacturer LTI has been sold for £11.4m to the Chinese car manufacturer Geely.

The company has acquired the “business and the principal assets” of Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH), the manufacturer of the London cabs.

LTI in Coventry went into administration in October with 99 out of its 176 workers losing their jobs.

The deal, which it said will safeguard production in the UK, was agreed with administrators Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

‘Healthy future’
Geely said that its priority will be to re-establish the manufacture, sale and servicing of new and current vehicles “on broadly the same basis” as before the administration, including the continued assembly of the TX4 at the Coventry plant and retaining its 107 staff.

The deal includes retaining The London Taxi Company head office production, the Mann & Overton dealership in London including its property, and all related dealership assets including those in Manchester and Edinburgh.

Peter Johansen, vice president of Geely UK’s black cab operation, said that the Coventry factory would be supplying vehicles for the UK while others will be made in the sister factory in Shanghai for the left-hand drive market.

Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said: “We have ambitious plans for the business and, despite there being a number of challenges to overcome, we are committed to working with all stakeholders to build a solid future for the black cab business that will enable it to return to profitability and grow substantially.”

David Bailey, a professor of international business strategy and economics at Coventry University Business School, said Geely “is a big player” that is “growing quickly” and that there is a chance there for them to put resources into developing new models.

He said: “I think in the short term Manganese Bronze could always be saved. Longer term the big issue is about developing new taxis that can compete in the market. Geely potentially offers them a lifeline to do that.”

Involve the workforce
He also hopes that some of the workers who were made redundant could be taken back on to be part of the skilled workers assembly line.

David Bailey from Coventry University Business School: “There a big challenges ahead and a need for investment”
Geely made an initial investment in MBH in 2006, in return for a 19.97% equity stake, and established a joint manufacturing facility in China.

It was also the biggest single creditor when the company went into administration.

The acquisition includes plant, equipment and property, intellectual property rights, trademarks and the “goodwill of the business.”

It also includes MBH’s 48% stake in the joint venture manufacturing company in Shanghai set up by Geely and MBH in 2009 and MBH’s stock of unsold vehicles.

Geely has said that it will involve the current workforce as much as possible.

Roger Maddison, the union Unite’s national officer said: “They [Geely] have plans for the future, let’s hope its another Jaguar Land Rover with plenty of investment, we can have a real success story here in Coventry.”

Source: BBC

Black cab maker attracts interest from 80 firms

Black cab maker attracts interest from 80 firms, says MP

PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed as administrator of the firm on Tuesday. Eighty companies have expressed an interest in troubled Coventry-based taxi maker Manganese Bronze, Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson has said.

The MP and unions met administrators to see if redundancies can be suspended. Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has made 156 people redundant, including 99 of the 176 in the city.
Mr Robinson, the Labour MP for Coventry North West, said PwC was working to find a buyer which he conceded was “the only way forward”. He said: “They’ve got 80 enquiries already and a timetable to get down to some serious buyers by the middle of this month and hopefully they’ll be into serious negotiations in December.

“It’s about the only bit of good news.”

The Coventry firm trades as the London Taxi Company and the remaining redundancies are at its dealerships.

Unite national union officer for the automotive industry Roger Maddison said workers were “shell-shocked” following the announced job losses on Wednesday afternoon, saying they were “fully prepared to talk to the company about any sort of saviour package”.

‘Devastating news’
He said if the company was to be sold, it “needs those highly skilled people still employed by the company, otherwise people are just buying bricks and mortar”.

Labour councillor Lynette Kelly, cabinet member for development at Coventry City Council said she was angry with the way the workforce had been treated. Ms Kelly said: “There were things we were told by the chief executive on Friday who reassured us, the unions, that there was a future for the factory, that they were confident this firm was going to continue.

“They were confident that people were going to continue in their jobs.

“Whatever was said on Friday obviously did not really reflect the true situation of this factory and it is devastating news for everybody that works here because the ones that aren’t made redundant, they must be really concerned about their future.

“It’s not good news for the city.”

She said the council was going to talk to those being made redundant to see if their skills could be taken to other manufacturers as there is “demand for skilled workforce in the West Midlands”.

An iconic company

Ms Kelly also urged the administrators to find somebody to take over the company as she feared Coventry was going to lose its last major car manufacturer.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said that every redundancy is “extremely regrettable” for individuals and the wider economy, and she hoped for a turnaround.

She said: “In this instance, the blow is not the volume of redundancies, it is the fact that this iconic company finds itself in the position it is in currently.

“In the short-term, we are speaking to local partners around how the Chamber and other organisations might be able to help both the company and the workers.

“We will be speaking to the administrators to see how that could pan out but there are certainly many companies in this region who tell us that they struggle to find skilled engineers.

“There could be a chance to match some of those workers who are being made redundant to some of those posts that are available at other companies in the region.”

News courtesy of the BBC

‘The Knowledge’ of London


The Knowledge

All licensed London taxi drivers need to pass a special test before they can drive one of the Capital’s famous black cabs. This test is called the Knowledge.

How long it takes to become a licensed taxi driver depends on whether you want to be an All-London driver or a Suburban driver.

London or the suburbs?

All-London drivers – also known as Green Badge drivers – need a detailed knowledge of London within a six mile radius of Charing Cross.

All-London drivers’ Knowledge is based on learning 320 routes (or runs). This will help them learn the 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks and places of interest in the six mile radius of Charing Cross.

It takes between two and four years to pass the All-London Knowledge. Once you are licensed you can work anywhere in the Greater London area.

Suburban

Suburban drivers (also known as Yellow Badge drivers) can choose from London’s nine suburban sectors. They must know between 30 and 51 runs in detail. They also need to know all the streets, landmarks and places of interest in their sector.

It takes around two years to become a licensed Suburban taxi driver. Once qualified, you can only work in the sector you are licensed for.

You can find out more about the two licences on the T.F.L Licence types page.

The Knowledge makes your brain grow

Doing the Knowledge makes your brain bigger, says research by the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience.

Researchers scanned the brains of 16 London taxi drivers who had spent an average of two years learning the Knowledge. They found the cabbies had a larger hippocampus – an area associated with memory – than control subjects.

All information courtesy of Transport for London

Taxi driver foils robbery

A WOMAN allegedly involved in robbing two banks and stealing a car has been arrested in Koondoola after she was pinned down by a taxi driver.

Perth crime spree

THE TAXI DRIVER CHATS WITH POLICE. PICTURE: DANIEL WILKINS PERTHNOW

Police believe the woman got into a taxi near Booragoon and forced the driver at knife point to take her to the Koondoola supermarket.

But after she got out, the driver tackled her to the ground and screamed for help as he held her down.

Shop owner Rob Creemers came to his aid after he heard a scream for help in the car park and saw the taxi driver wrestling with the woman.

“I heard a scream and came out of the shop straight away and he was calling for someone to call police and help because she had a knife,” Mr Creemers said.

“But everybody was abusing him, telling him to let her go. I helped him hold her down and pulled the knife out of her pocket. It was was one of those army survival knifes.

“She was strong, I’ve never seen a girl that can fight like that.”

The woman, believed to be aged in her 20s, has been on the run from police after an alleged violent crime spree that began at about 7am.

Police believe she threatened a customer with a knife at the Padbury BP Service Station and stole his wallet before driving off in a white ute this morning.

The ute had been stolen two days earlier from contractors carrying out work for Western Power in North Perth.

The vehicle was later involved in a crash in Merriwa, on the corner of Marmion Avenue and Hester Avenue.

Police believe the same woman was involved in a car-jacking in the carpark outside the post office at the Warwick shopping centre just before 10am.

She allegedly threatened a woman in her 60s and took off with her Mazda 3, after dumping the ute.

At about 10.30am, witnesses reported seeing the same silver Mazda 3 fleeing the scene of bank hold-up at Westpac Dianella on the corner of Alexander Drive and Grand Promenade.