PwC administrators called to London black cab maker

by Rachael Singh

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31 Oct 2012

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PwC offices at More London Riverside

PWC ADMINISTRATORS have been formally appointed to London's black cab maker Manganese Bronze.

Matthew Hammond, Tony Barrell, Ian Green and Mike Jervis, all in the restructuring division at PwC, were appointed joint administrators this week.

The administrators' immediate priority is to secure funding to resolve a steering box issue, which resulted in the company having to recall about 400 cabs earlier this year.

Manganese has a turnover of £75m and employs about 277 staff including three overseas. It has 175 staff based in its head office and manufacturing site in Coventry, with the remaining employees spread across dealerships in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coventry.

Manganese has faced a number of issues in recent years, with the administrators confirming it has been loss making for about four of them. However, the final nail in the coffin came when the company had to recall cabs after discovering a steering fault earlier this year and the suspension of sales, which immediately hit its cashflow.

This was compounded by the discovery that there was a £3.9m accounting black hole in August. The company put the hole down to a failure to transfer a number of transactions into a new IT system, causing the business to overstate stock and underestimate liabilities.

Administrators are currently reviewing the financial position of the business to rescue it.

Following a suspension of shares on the stock market earlier this month, the group was unable to secure funding and announced that it would appoint administrators.

PwC partner Hammond said: "Our immediate priority is to secure funding in order to explore the options rapidly developed by the management team and key suppliers to resolve the steering box recall.

"We are reviewing the existing financial position to develop a range of options to rescue the business or alternatively dispose of it to an investor that can continue the business to a secure future for the iconic London black cab.

"We have immediately commenced discussions with an encouraging list of UK and international interested parties and would encourage any further interested parties to contact us as a matter of urgency."

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