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Tootall
03-03-2007, 09:07 AM
Taken from the Birmingham Mail 2/3/07;


FORMER MG Rover boss John Towers today claimed his Phoenix consortium had played a key role in helping Nanjing to bring Longbridge back from the dead.

The 'Phoenix Four' apparently felt so responsible for the disastrous collapse of the factory with 6,500 job losses, that they spent the last 18 months working unpaid to provide crucial information to assist the car factory's rebirth.

When approached by the Birmingham Mail following a tip from an inside source, Towers authorised a detailed statement confirming the close links with the Chinese car firm, who bought Longbridge for 53 million in July 2005.

The statement said Towers and his colleagues - Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards - "decided to do everything they could to ensure that those assets were put to use at Longbridge, and not just in China".

The statement went on: "Nanjing requested help from Phoenix in a number of areas, including technical advice, sales and marketing, and introductions to people, dealers and supply chain.

"That assistance was willingly given in an unpaid capacity."

The Phoenix Four even kept their registered office and boardroom in the heart of the Longbridge plant until recent weeks so that they were close at hand to assist Nanjing.

Although the Phoenix office at Longbridge has now been closed, Nick Stephenson is still providing "ongoing technical help" to Nanjing both in China and Britain.

The statement from the Phoenix directors goes on to attack the Department for Trade and Industry for "not lifting a finger" to help the Chinese resume car production.

"Meanwhile, the delayed DTI inquiry is still set to turn the spotlight on the Phoenix Four for their role in the collapse of Longbridge.

The four have been widely criticised for awarding themselves a 12.7 million trust fund whilst MG Rover racked up huge losses of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Unions and workers roundly condemned the four for feathering their own nests after the car firm finally closed in April 2005, with liabilities of more than 1 billion.

But today's Phoenix statement added: "Without the help of PVH directors in the early stages of the [Nanjing] project, there would have been no prospect of production resuming at Longbridge.

"The DTI in particular have been conspicuous by their absence."

The Mail's inside source said: "Everywhere you turn, you get Stephenson. The Phoenix Four, via Qu Li of China Ventures, are running the place.

"Nanjing is responsible for the actions of its agents and advisers. Still hiding in the shadows are Nick Stephenson, the others in the Phoenix Four and Qu Li."

Northfield MP Richard Burden said: "My hope is that the DTI inquiry is as thorough as it possibly can be. There is still the outstanding issue of the commitment that they made to the trust fund for the employees which nobody has seen anything of.

"They have claimed that they are not willing to do anything about that until the inquiry is finished. I simply do not accept that. They made the commitment and they should carry that through."

A DTI spokeswoman said: "Our inquiry is ongoing. We would hope it is completed as quickly as possible."

Tony
03-03-2007, 01:07 PM
Well they've managed to keep that quiet which makes me question exactly how much involvement they have actually had. If they are genuinely trying to assist in reopening Longbridge then I guess it goes a small way to making up for mistakes made earlier.

GT
05-03-2007, 11:10 AM
I think your sentiment says it all, Keith! 'wtf'?

Obviously someone has been attacking them and they have felt the need to retaliate. Lets hope that whatever is going on, it really is going to help the midlands and not make things worse.

The Express Valeter
05-03-2007, 09:28 PM
I think your sentiment says it all, Keith! 'wtf'?
Lets hope that whatever is going on, it really is going to help the midlands and not make things worse.


Is that possible?