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Russians deny MG Rover bid claims

Aluminium entrepreneur Oleg Deripaska and TVR sportscar firm owner Nikolai Smolensky have dismissed newspaper reports that they may buy MG Rover.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, administrator for the carmaker, said Russian firms were among 200 potential buyers.

TVR has dismissed newspaper reports that its owner may buy MG Rover.

Deripaska, whose company, RusPromAvto, owns Russia's second largest carmaker Gaz, has invested heavily overseas in recent months, boosting speculation he may be interested in the UK company.

Ruspromavto - owned by Deripaska - said that its "leadership has not held and does not plan to hold any negotiations on this matter".

RusPromAvto deputy chairman Alexander Yushkevich was earlier quoted in the Mail on Sunday as saying that Deripaska was impressed by Rover's 25, 45 and 75 models.

Rovers "are more popular than Fiats in Russia," he told Russian paper Gazeta.

The Mail on Sunday had said Deripaska, who has a £25m property in Belgravia, was keen to develop his British interests and would be sending in accountants to look at Rover's books.

According to the Independent on Sunday Smolenski, the 24-year-old millionaire who bought the British sports-car maker TVR last summer, is thought to have opened talks with PwC with a view to buying the group and recommencing manufacture of all models.

It was thought Smolenski would want to add Rover's MG sportscar to TVR's sportscar portfolio.

Phil James, a TVR spokesman, said he was not aware of any plan.

"Nick bought TVR last year, so now he's in the British auto industry, people make 22 out of two and two," he said. "It's a non-story."

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