Administrators last night announced they had exchanged contracts with Eco Concept – a vehicle engineering firm owned by China Ventures, headed by Dr Qu Li, who was revealed in last month's government report to have had a personal relationship with one of the Phoenix Four while working as a consultant for MG Rover. Dr Li received 1.6 million for consultancy services to the Rover group in the 15 months before the firm collapsed.
LDV administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said it had secured the deal after nine weeks of "intensive" negotiations and was hopeful that the sale would complete within the month. However, PwC dealt a blow for hopes that production would be resumed at LDV's Birmingham site at Washwood Heath, saying the new owner intended to relocate the assets.
Eco Concept said it wanted to launch a new company making specialist light vehicles, but a spokesman said the Washwood Heath site was not suitable for its smaller scale operation.
Eco Concept is aiming to recruit about 200 workers at a new site in the West Midlands, although it is not clear if it plans to take on the 34 staff left at LDV.