Chartered accountant trio take driving seat at MG Motors

Chartered accountant Graham Hallworth will be group finance director, whileBrandon Gough is set to become the renamed company’s non-executive chairman.

Hallworth is renowned for his specialist skills in several turnaroundsituations since training with Deloittes Haskins & Sells. Brandon was formerly chairman of Coopers & Lybrand, which merged tobecome Big Five accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. One of his former audit clients was British Leyland.

This brings to three the number of chartered accountants involved in Alchemy’s controversial takeover of the beleaguered company’s car division. Jon Moulton, senior partner of Alchemy, is also a chartered accountant who spent most of the eighties working at Coopers & Lybrand.

With these announcements venture capitalist Alchemy isdemonstrating its confidence that it will formalise its planned acquisition of Rover Cars from BMW.

But a Birmingham-based businessman hopes to throw a spanner in the works.

John Hemmings, a Liberal Democrat councillor, said today he intendsto outbid Alchemy. Hemmings has set up a businessconsortium, so far consisting of five names, with a sixth to confirm on Monday.

Hemming’s takeover bid comes in the wake of yesterday’s revelation that BMW alsoplans to sell its UK engineering and research centre at Gaydon in Warwickshireas part of its £1.8bn disposal of Land Rover to Ford.

Not phased that the Alchemy-BMW deal is almost signed and sealed, Hemmings toldRadio 4’s Today programme that the central issue was to put forward a viablebusiness proposal, which he claims to have.

‘The key [to winning the bid] is to have a solid business proposal and a goodmanagement team,’ said Hemming. ‘It is crucial that there is another bid on thetable.’

When asked if he would continue to manufacture Rover cars, Hemmings respondedwith a pointed affirmative, but quickly stipulated that he could not prejudgeexactly what his consortium planned to do if it wins.

Although upbeat about his intention to beat Alchemy and retain thousands of jobs for the Midlands,Hemmings admitted that it couldn’t be done without help fromthe government.

The Liberal Democrat councillor said: ‘It can only be done with pressure fromthe government. If the government is spineless and doesn’t keep the door open[for other offers] then Alchemy will win.’

Exclusive: Alchemy’s switch to UK standards could cut Rover losses

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