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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
James launches two bids for Rover
MG sports car
The sports car business is in demand
Businessman David James has submitted two bids to buy parts of collapsed carmaker MG Rover.

After talks with his backers, Mr James' Project Kimber consortium is making separate bids for the MG sports car brand and engine maker Powertrain.

Earlier this week, he told the BBC that the combined value of the bid would be about 40m.

Chinese carmakers Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC) and Nanjing Automotive have already put in bids.

"The combination of one or the other of these and another successful bid for the Rover related assets, from a third party, will provide the optimum combination that will be in the best interests of the creditors," Mr James said.

'Higher offer'

However, Mr James also said earlier this week that if the administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) could sell off the rest of MG Rover group's assets for 20m, then his bid and the sale would total 60m - exceeding what he believes the two Chinese bidders are offering.

PwC is said to have valued Rover and Powertrain at 50m.

David James
Mr James' bid is expected to value MG Rover at 40m

Mr James hopes to resurrect Rover as a niche car manufacturer.

He dismissed claims that issues surrounding the ownership of Rover's engine designs could derail his bid as the administrators had told him that would not affect the engine he would need.

Rival bidders

PwC is already studying two detailed offers to buy Rover, both of which are likely to see production resume at the company's Longbridge plant near Birmingham.

Chinese carmaker SAIC has tabled a joint bid with ex-Ford of Europe chief Martin Leach for the whole of the MG Rover group.

SAIC is prepared to fund the entire bid and plans to establish a manufacturing, distribution and research, and development centre at Longbridge, with the eventual aim of producing 100,000 vehicles per year.

Nanjing also wants to restart car production in the west Midlands - probably at Longbridge - and plans to use MG as its main marque in Europe while developing other MG Rover brands, such as Austin, elsewhere.

PwC is expected to give its decision on the sale within a week.

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