Receiver at Lancer hopeful over jobs

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The Independent Online
JUNGHEINRICH, the Hamburg-based forklift truck maker that bought the German subsidiary of the collapsed Lancer Boss group on Thursday, said yesterday it had 'no interest at the moment' in buying the company's British operations.

But Allan Griffiths of Grant Thornton, the British receiver, said he was close to agreeing trading arrangements with Jungheinrich. These would make it easier to sell the Leighton Buzzard factories to another owner, preserving the 720 jobs at risk.

The Hamburg group has twice made offers for the whole group in the past, and managers at Leighton Buzzard believe it is still the favourite to take them over.

Mr Griffiths said he had received more than 50 inquiries about the UK operations, and that he would be sifting them carefully. 'Unlike the German receivers, we're not rushing into it,' he said. Groups that had expressed an interest in Lancer Boss after it went into receivership a week ago were 're- working their figures', to see if they still wanted to bid.

The trading relationship with the former Steinbock Boss factory in Moosburg, Bavaria, is critical to the survival of the UK operations. They produce complementary models and supply each other with components: when Steinbock Boss was forced into administration last Friday, the chairman, Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, concluded that the Bedfordshire factories could not operate on their own, and called receivers into the whole group.

Mr Griffiths said the flow of components would be able to restart, and that shipments both ways would be made next week.

A source close to the receiver said that while deals were being struck no one would complain publicly about the alleged strong-arm tactics that put Steinbock into Jungheinrich's hands. 'There will be plenty of time to scream later,' he said.

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