[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Iranian firms plan MG Rover talks
Rover car
German carmaker BMW owns the Rover brand name
Two Iranian car companies may be interested in buying stricken UK car firm MG Rover, it has been confirmed.

The Iranian embassy in London said that officials from Iran are planning to hold talks about buying the rights and assets of MG Rover.

According to a semi-official Iranian news agency, ISNA, the two firms in question are Iran Khodro and SAIPA.

Iran Khodro is the largest carmaker in the Middle East, while SAIPA is the second-biggest carmaker in Iran.

New talks?

The UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) declined to comment on whether it had received any contact from the Iranian government about MG Rover.

"We are aware the administrators [at MG Rover] have received a wide range of enquiries from a number of interested parties, but that is a matter for them," said a DTI spokeswoman.

Union TGWU said in a statement: "The unions are doing everything they can to secure car manufacturing at Longbridge.

"While we're aware of expressions of interest - in parts of the business - to the administrators - our priority is to secure car manufacturing at Longbridge."

No-one was available for comment at the MG Rover administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

In addition to its own domestic models, Iran Khodro makes Peugeots under licence. SAIPA does the same for Citroen.

Endgame

MG Rover went into administration on 8 April after the collapse of talks over a possible rescue tie-up with China's largest car marker, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

Peugeot car made by Iran Khodro
Iran Khodro makes Peugeot cars under licence

The BBC has since been told that SAIC, which owns the intellectual rights to the models, plans to build Rover cars in China.

What SAIC does not yet have is the right to use the Rover name.

This is still held by BMW, which owned Rover from 1994 to 2000.

The Chinese are said to be confident they can secure from BMW the right to call the Shanghai-built cars Rovers.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has made 150m available to help those made redundant at MG Rover and the companies that supply it, a move backed by both Conservative leader Michael Howard, and Charles Kennedy from the Liberal Democrats.

About 5,000 of the 6,000 MG Rover employees have been made redundant since Rover collapsed, and now administrators for the stricken car maker say that a further 203 workers must go.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
What the deal could mean for MG Rover workers



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific