GEC boss invests in rebirth of the Jensen

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The Independent Online

Lord Simpson of Dunkeld, the chief executive of GEC, has emerged as one of the key backers of Jensen Motors, the British sports car firm which is being reborn on Merseyside with the aid of a £10m investment programme.

Lord Simpson of Dunkeld, the chief executive of GEC, has emerged as one of the key backers of Jensen Motors, the British sports car firm which is being reborn on Merseyside with the aid of a £10m investment programme.

A former senior motor industry executive himself - he was previously chairman of Rover and Leyland Trucks - Lord Simpson is understood to have invested several hundred thousand pounds in the project.

Jensen has raised a total of £6m from a group of over 20 private investors and central and local government departments and plans to start production of a new, £38,000 sports car, the SV-8, in a purpose-built factory on Merseyside in the middle of next year.

In the first year it plans to produce about 300 cars - all right-hand drive - and says it will achieve break-even after selling 200 of these vehicles. So far it has orders for 100 and eventually it intends to produce 600 cars a year.

The two owners of Jensen, Keith Rauer and Robin Bowyer, who bought the company and the rights to the famous name last year, control 60 per cent of the shares.

A group of ten car dealers, led by H R Owen, have invested more than £1m for a 10 per cent stake in the venture. The Department of Trade and Industry has provided £400,000 and Liverpool City Council a further £250,000.

The management of Jensen, led by the former managing director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Graham Morris, have invested a further £500,000 and have convertible preference shares. The ultimate plan is to float the business.

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