Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ford 'to offload Jaguar and Land Rover

Ford is reportedly close to announcing the sale of luxury British car brands Jaguar and Land Rover.
It emerged yesterday in the City that the US carmaker was planning to offload the iconic marques, but Ford has so far maintained its silence on the reports.
European car manufacturers Renault and Fiat have already ruled themselves out of bidding for Jaguar and Land Rover, while investment banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC have refused to comment on reports they are advising on the sale.
And Alchemy Partners, named by City AM yesterday as a frontrunner in the chase for the two brands, has played down the likelihood it was preparing a bid.
"We'd be emotionally interested but we haven't made any contact with anybody and it was massively over-reported," Jon Moulton, a managing partner at the private equity group, told the Today programme.
On potential bidders Mr Moulton speculated: "There will be some interest from far eastern auto manufacturers. There may be interest from the Middle East too as there was for Aston Martin.
Ford has joined other western car groups in launching major restructuring drives in the face of increased competition from Asian firms, while more environmentally-aware consumers have hit sales of vehicles perceived as gas-guzzlers.
In January this year Ford posted 12-month losses of £6.3 billion, while transatlantic carmaker DaimlerChrysler announced plans to unwind its historic merger earlier this year.
Since acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover seven years ago, Ford has seen the two brands consistently under-perform.
Speculation that the Michigan-based firm has briefed politicians on a possible sale of Jaguar and Land Rover has prompted job loss fears among union leaders. The two firms have a combined UK workforce of 19,000.
"We would find it difficult to understand why Ford would want to sell a successful, growing and environmentally improving brand like Land Rover and a marque like Jaguar which is a significant player in the luxury market and one that Ford has invested heavily in," cautioned Unite's national officer Dave Osborne.
"There have been persistent rumours and speculation which we have pressed Jaguar/Land Rover to deal with as our prime concern is the job security of our members," he continued.

Link to Ford 'to offload Jaguar and Land Rover


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