Backer named for DAF buyout: Move by Barclays Development Capital

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BARCLAYS Development Capital has emerged as the lead backer for the management buyout bid at Leyland DAF's Lancashire truck plant. Barclays has agreed to provide pounds 5m as the lead equity investor.

Graeme White, director of Barclays, said: 'It is our belief - a belief shared by the management team - that we need to move quickly on this project in order to maintain and then build on the current level of activity within the plant.'

Leyland DAF has been in receivership since February, when the DAF group collapsed. A spokesman for the receivers, Arthur Andersen, said: 'This is just one more stage in the management buyout bid. You do need to remember that there are others that are interested.'

Volvo of Sweden confirmed on Friday that it had been in contact with the receivers but said that the talks so far concerned general industry issues. The receivers are also though to have been in touch with the US truck maker Paccar.

The workforce at the Leyland truck plant has shrunk by more than 1,000 to 1,093 since February. John Gilchrist, joint managing director of the existing operation and head of the buyout team, said that future staff levels depended on truck orders but in the event of a successful buyout re-recruitment was unlikely in the short term.

Separately, a management buyout at the Leyland DAF van operation in Birmingham was completed at the weekend. Murdoch McKillop, one of the Arthur Andersen joint administrative receivers, said: 'We are very pleased that the van business is now firmly in the hands of its management team who can now ensure its long-term future entirely separate from receivership.'

Mr McKillop said the deal had depended on support from all employees. Recently it was announced that staff would accept pay cuts of up to 8 per cent in support of the van buyout.

The bid was helped by a decision by the Birmingham Heartlands Development Corporation to buy 42 acres of unwanted land on the Leyland Daf site for about pounds 4m. Further undisclosed funds are being made available by the Department of Trade and Industry under the regional selective assistance scheme.