Rover bosses answer back

DIRECTORS of MG Rover have rejected calls to share with former workers an &pound;11m pay out from a defunct finance company connected to the collapsed car maker.<br /><br />Representatives of the controversial &ldquo;Phoenix Four&rdquo; plus one other director last night confirmed they were expecting MGR Capital Ltd to be wound up within weeks.<br /><br />The Midlands businessmen who led MG Rover into extinction are expected to share in a pot of &pound;22.2m along with 50 per cent partner Lloyds Banking Group once the company&rsquo;s sole creditor Inland Revenue has been paid a debt of less than &pound;1m.<br /><br />The directors, John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards, Peter Beale and Kevin Howe, will divide between them an estimated &pound;11m from the assets of MGR Capital, a car finance company they owned. <br /><br />The Phoenix Four will have taken a combined &pound;42m in salaries, pensions and pay outs from the company and associated entities by the time MGR Capital is wound up.<br /><br />More than 6,000 workers lost their jobs when MG Rover went bust in April 2005 with debts of &pound;1.3bn.<br /><br />The Phoenix Four established an employee trust fund with &pound;2m. That sum is expected to be topped up when Phoenix Venture Holdings is wound up within months.<br /><br />A spokesman for the group last night insisted that the two companies were not connected and it was unfair for politicians and the public to call for money from MGR to be put in the trust fund.<br /><br />Spokesman Ramsay Smith: &ldquo;It is up to the liquidator to decide what happens to the assets of MGR Capital and the directors have no comment on that.&rdquo;