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Towers is leader of Concentric buyout

JOHN TOWERS, the former chief executive of Rover who left the car maker amid rumours of a rift with its German owners BMW, yesterday emerged as the leader of a pounds 87m management buyout of the car parts maker Concentric, writes Francesco Guerrera.

Mr Towers, chief executive of the Midlands-based company, is heading a group of directors who yesterday launched a recommended 160p-a-share cash offer, aimed at taking Concentric private.

The price is a 49 per cent premium on the close on 7 May, when Concentric revealed it was in bid talks. Yesterday the shares rose 14p to 157.5p.

The management team, which also includes Ron Hickman, the financial director, and Roger Miles, the company secretary, is backed by NatWest Equity Partners. The group has secured approval from the non-executive directors and other investors holding a total 38.8 per cent of the shares.

Concentric, which supplies diesel pumps and moulded plastic components to car and truck makers, posted a pre-tax loss of pounds 3.9m last year on turnover of pounds 150.1m.

Mr Towers left Rover in June 1996. He has always denied that he was ousted by the Germans. He moved to Concentric three months later.