LDV's Washwood Heath factory in Birmingham began to return to life yesterday, nearly a month after a cash crisis forced it to stop production.

The vanmaker missed a pre-Christmas deadline for restarting manufacturing operations following its emergency £750 million refinancing by American private equity group Sun Capital Partners.

But the factory was finally beginning to resume building its award-winning Maxus van yesterday, a London-based spokeswoman for the company said.

"The manufacturing process has resumed and will progressively resume further during the course of the week," she said.

LDV came in for criticism after it emerged it had gone into temporary administration before being taken over by Sun in conjunction with an existing minority backer, European Acquisition Capital.

The manoeuvre, called a pre-packaged administration, allowed the new owners to wash its hands of the old LDV's liabilities - including the deficit on its closed final salary pension scheme.

Suppliers, who had previously slashed the company's credit terms from 90 to 30 days were left out of pocket.

Also, it is believed that employees will miss out on deferred dividends worth thousands of pounds on shares they have held since the company was reformed by a management buyout following the crash of the old Leyland DAF trucks and vans group in 1993.

The company, which has scrapped production of its older Pilot and Convoy models, plans to axe 230 jobs by March.