Pounds 15m bid makes US forklift firm front runner to lift Lancer Boss: Receiver hopes to sell failed truck group next week

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The Independent Online
CLARK Material Handling, the biggest forklift truck maker in the United States, has offered about pounds 15m for Lancer Boss, making it the front runner to buy the collapsed British truck group.

But Jungheinrich of Germany, which earlier this week made an offer that it almost immediately increased, will negotiate over the weekend in an effort to secure the company.

Allan Griffiths, Lancer Boss's receiver, said yesterday that he had a shortlist of three potential purchasers for Lancer Boss. It collapsed three weeks ago after German bankers refused to continue supporting its Bavarian subsidiary, Steinbock Boss. Mr Griffiths said he hoped to have sold the group by the end of next week.

Clark, based in Connecticut, owns a forklift truck factory in Germany and a construction equipment plant in Scotland. The firm has undergone several corporate restructurings in the past decade, and is now owned by Terex, an earth-moving equipment group.

Lancer Boss's management is worried that Clark will close its operation and move production to Scotland or Germany.

Simon Valente, GMB union convenor at Lancer Boss in Leighton Buzzard, said the workforce and management would prefer a German takeover.

The third offer comes from a management buy-in team led by Roman Simonovitch, a British- born South African who runs AAD, a truck distributor in South Africa. He made a bid for the group before it went into receivership, and has since made an offer for the Leighton Buzzard plant.

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