Hopes rise for black cab firm after new bid

Michael Bow
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VOLVO Car Corporation’s owner Zhejiang Geely has entered the race to take over stricken UK black cab maker Manganese Bronze, after it emerged the Chinese company was in talks to buy the Coventry-based manufacturer.

Manganese, which has been making the iconic black cabs through its London Taxi Company since 1948, fell into administration in October after it was forced to pull its flagship TX4 model following a steering box malfunction.

Administrator PwC closed second round bids two weeks ago. It is understood Zhejiang Geely has submitted an offer to buy the remaining 80.03 per cent of the business it does not already own.

It is not known whether any other buyers remain in the running.

PwC joint administrator Matthew Hammond was unavailable for comment last night.

Zhejiang Geely, which headquartered in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, signed a joint venture with Manganese in 2006 to produce its vehicles in China for the domestic market.

Geely, which currently owns 19.97 per cent of Manganese through its listed subsidiary Geely Automobile Holdings, bought Swedish car maker Volvo from Ford in August 2010 for $1.5bn (£921m). Manganese management entered into talks with Geely in October following the product recall, in a bid to drum up support for a bailout, a move that proved fruitless.

Joint administrator Matthew Hammond previously said administrators were in “advanced, positive negotiations” with bidders.

“We are hopeful that we will sell the business as a going concern,” he said.