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Smolenski buys back TVR assets

TVR is back in the hands of Nikolai Smolenski, the Russian mogul who sold off the firm’s manufacturing division, Blackpool Automotive Limited, at the end of last year. The division’s new shareholders immediately put it into administration.

In reacquiring the assets of Blackpool Automotive from administrators PKF Partners for an undisclosed amount, Smolenski has secured the marque’s trademarks and intellectual property rights. The deal clears the way for Smolenski to resume TVR production at what the company describe as “a more sophisticated plant in Europe” at the cost of 300 jobs in Blackpool.

The news prompted an angry reaction from the Transport and General Workers Union. Andy Robertson, T&G regional industrial organizer, says: “It is abysmal that the previous owner, who allowed TVR to go into administration, is once again the owner. The Government should not allow this practice to take place. Smolenski has walked away unscathed while the workforce has suffered so much.”

Effectively, Smolenski split the company in two in a restructure last year, attempting to establish a separate entity in Blackpool Automotive so its assets could be sold off and production moved abroad. Unfortunately for him, when the administrators took over they seized control of the trademarks and intellectual rights, too, putting Smolenski in the ignominious position of having to bid against three other parties.

In a statement the administrators say: “Having advertised the assets of the company on the open market, we are confident we have achieved the best possible price in the circumstances. A significant number of companies expressed an interest, but only four demonstrated they had the funds required. Ultimately, Mr Smolenski’s company came in with the highest offer.”

TVR says that some manufacturing will remain in the UK such as the engines and drivetrains under development at Ricardo. The design and office teams will remain in the UK, too.

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