Birmingham vanmaker LDV was last night still waiting to learn whether or not it has a future after a potential investor was said to have completed the first “critical” stage of a rescue.
Prospects of resuming production at the company’s Washwood Heath plant after nearly four months of shutdown hinge on talks between the company’s Russian owner Gaz and an un-named investor, thought to be the India automotive group Mahindra & Mahindra.
It was learnt yesterday that the investors have now left the UK after meeting Gaz representatives in London with the first phase of the due diligence process having been completed.
LDV managers, whose own attempt to take over the company is thought to have collapsed, are now waiting for news of the next stage in the takeover process.
A rescue, however, depends on the UK Government’s willingness to provide LDV with a bridging loan of between £5 million and £8 million to enable the company to keep ticking over in the interim.
LDV, which has not made a vehicle since December, said recently that it needs £1 million a week for up to two months in order to keep its creditors at bay and safeguard the jobs of its 850 employees.
Meanwhile, those employees, many of whom have been struggling financially, had some rare good news.
They were told that the company had raised enough cash from the sale of used vehicle and parts to put them on to half pay under its banked hours, flexible working scheme.
Workers had been forced to apply for state benefits after seeing their wage packets dwindle to nothing – and could not receive mortgage protection payments because they remain employed.
LDV PR and Marketing Director Guy Jones said: “The staff that are laid off are now being paid for 19 hours a week - they can look forward to half-pay and they will be paid full pay for holidays such as Easter and the spring Bank Holiday.
“We are still in a critical cash position as a business but money is coming in from the sale of used vehicles and parts.”
Employees have also been snapping up the offer of 500 free tickets for Aston Villa’s home match against Everton on Easter Sunday.
“There has been a phenomenal response from employees for the Villa game - we have had around 500 requests for tickets in total and they’re still coming in,” Mr Jones said.
“This is a tremendous gesture from Aston Villa. I think that people will have long memories over this and when we come out of this, we will remember Villa’s gesture. The tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and we cannot guarantee that all sets of four can be seated together.”