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Ex-University lecturer makes MGR bid

A former University of East Anglia lecturer is heading an Arab-American consortium to become front-runner to purchase the whole of MG Rover.

Krish Bhaskar, who is now a motor industry analyst based in the South of France, is now understood to be heading the chase for MG Rover and has reportedly offered £65m to buy the business and has also paid PwC a £5m deposit.

MG Rover's administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said last week that time was running out for a sale of the Birmingham-based firm, with just nine bidders remaining in the frame.

Of the nine, only three want the whole of MG Rover, with the remainder looking to cherry-pick parts of the business.

Under Bhaskar’s plans, the Triple A consortium would be prepared to invest £1.6bn in MG Rover, taking on 3,000 production workers, another 1,000 engineers and 100 head office staff at Longbridge. The consortium has another £1bn in reserve.

It would eventually produce around 200,000 cars a year - half of which would be underwritten by the consortium's backers. Bhaskar is looking to produce around 14 models, including two environmentally-friendly models.

PwC yesterday declined to confirm or deny whether Triple A was one of the remaining bidders - but said all nine had persuaded it that they had the funds to proceed with bids.

A PwC spokesman said: “At the moment we are not saying who the bidders are. What we are saying is that the nine have convinced us they have credible funding. Talks are ongoing.”

Bhaskar has put forward two business plans - one working with MG Rover's Chinese partners, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), and another plan working alone.

Under the first plan production of current models would continue in co-operation with the Chinese, with the two developing new models together.

The second plan sees MG Rover ending production until 2008 when it would launch a range of new products including a replacement for the Rover 75, an off-roader, a replacement for the MG TF and the re-launch of the Austin Healey badge.

The Triple A consortium is backed by an investment company called Amar, whose full title is Arab-American Investment and Development Holdings.

Amar, based in Frankfurt, specialises in investing in engineering businesses across Europe and already has investments in 100 technology projects.

Amar's funding comes from loans raised against the fixed assets of Middle Eastern investors.

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