Chinese automotive powerhouse Geely has come to the rescue of the iconic London black taxi by agreeing to purchase Coventry-based cab maker Manganese Bronze, saving it from administration and the threat of closure.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., which purchased a 20 per cent stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc in 2006, will pay 11 million pounds ($16.7 million) for the remaining share of the manufacturing business on a debt-free basis.
Geely chairman Li Shufu said he was determined to restore the fortunes of the symbolic UK-based company, which hasn’t recorded a profit since 2007, endured a pre-tax loss of 3.6 million pounds ($5.4 million) in the first half of 2012, and has been crippled two serious recalls in recent years.
“We are a long-term and committed investor and we believe the illustrious past of the London black cab can be matched by a successful and healthy future,” Li said, as reported by Bloomberg.
Manganese Bronze was placed into administration in October following the second of those recalls which led to a production halt. The workforce was slashed from 274 employees to 107 as part of the administration process.
Geely has confirmed Manganese Bronze will continue to manufacturer the iconic TX4 Black Cabs in Coventry, the company’s home since 1948. In recent years it has produced about 1400 new taxis annually.
London mayor Boris Johnson said he was “delighted” that Geely had secured the future of the taxi company and ensured “the continuing manufacture of a world-famous, fully accessible and instantly recognisable vehicle synonymous with London”.