The man in charge of MG Rover remained defiant yesterday as he insisted the company could be saved.

John Towers, the chairman of Phoenix Venture Holdings, said a deal with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation could still be resurrected even though the Longbridge carmaker is in administration.

He also defended PVH's handling of the crisis and criticism of the directors who have been accused of benefiting while the company was struggling.

"In the next few weeks we will be re-engaging with SAIC and a deal is eminently possible especially now that we have the Government behind us," he said.

"Rather than taking one step back, we have taken one step forward with the deal in my view. The sadness is that we have had to go through administration which has created a lot of uncertainty amongst the workforce.

"The problem with times like this is that hundreds of talking heads pop-up not knowing what they are talking about, which is upsetting, and I think the uncertainty that creates amongst our employees is a disgrace."

He was also keen to emphasise that SAIC's original interest in Rover was not just stripping the company down and selling off the pieces.

He said: "Do you seriously believe that a company that has spent £67 million, which has put the kind of resources into this deal that they have, which has involved hundreds of people across the world, is only interested in that?

"We are offering them a complete package with all of the specific entities already in place. It's the global distribution they want and we can give it to them as well as the backup of years of technical expertise and experience which have been built up over a lifetime."

Mr Towers, who has been working frantically to save the struggling carmaker since he returned from Shanghai, refuted allegations that PVH was in financial difficulty and may be investigated by the Government.

He said: "It is a natural process when a firm goes into administration but we have been there before with the Parliamentary Select Committee and you must remember we have had scores of accountants crawl across our books over the last few weeks and they have found nothing out of place so we are not concerned about it."

He rejected criticism of himself and the other directors who have been the source of growing resentment following allegations they had helped themselves to £40 million in salaries and pensions since they took over the company in


"If we look at what other people are paid in similar jobs they get paid the same amount," said Mr Towers.

"I would even go as far as to suggest we get paid less then most of them."