Metrocab managers hail last-ditch bid

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The Independent Online

A consortium formed by the management of Metrocab, manufacturer of the world-famous black cabs, is lining up a bid this week to rescue the firm from liquidation.

The company, based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, went into administration in December with debts of around £2m. It is one of only two UK firms still making the cabs.

Director of sales and marketing, Stephen Ferris, who is heading the consortium, has approached administrators BDO Stoy Hayward about taking over the company. Another bidder, thought to be a trade buyer, is also lining up an offer. Both offers should be tabled this week.

On Wednesday, BDO held a creditors' meeting. Its main backer, Kamkorp Europe, a Singapore-based conglomerate, is owed around £700,000. It is thought to be unwilling to invest more. Other creditors include engine component manufacturers, who are owed several hundred thousand pounds.

BDO partner Kim Rayment said the administrators were looking either for a sale of the business or a refinancing. "I am optimistic one of these options can be achieved," he said. "The business is well known, has a strong brand and loyal customers."

Metrocab's larger rival, Manganese Bronze, which last week announced a joint venture for its subsidiary London Taxis International to manufacture the black cabs in China, has ruled itself out of the bidding.

Mr Rayment stressed that a quick sale of Metrocab was vital for its survival. It stopped production last month when it sacked its 88 staff, but sales had been tailing off because of falling demand from London cabbies. There are around 11,000 Metrocabs in operation in the UK and overseas, where they are popular for use at weddings.