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Russians set to move in on LDV

The likelihood of struggling vanmaker LDV continuing to build its vehicles in the UK has been thrown into doubt following a bid for the firm by a Russian billionaire.

In December US private equity company Sun Capital Partners bought the Birmingham-based van manufacturer following the firm’s collapse with cashflow problems, saying it could turn LDV round in very short time, and promising it was not going to strip it of its assets.

The potential new buyer, Oleg Deripaska, is Russia’s sixth richest man with a £5 billion fortune, made mainly in aluminium, and owns the rights to build LDV’s new van, the Maxus, in Russia through his GAZ car company.

It is understood he has an option to buy the whole company over the next six weeks, although Sun Capital has said it is too early to comment on whether Deripaska intends to close the Birmingham plant with the loss of 800 jobs and move it to Russia.

According to The Financial Times Erik Eberhardson, GAZ’s president has moved to allay fears that the plant will be shut, but workers and their unions are seeking further clarification of the Russian firm’s intentions.

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