St. Modwen Properties PLC expressed regret at the news that MG Rover Group has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) as receivers. St. Modwen acquired the larger part of MG Rover's Longbridge plant, 403 acres in total, in two transactions in 2003 and in 2004. The company paid a total consideration of Â£57.5m for the site and the agreement made at the time was to lease it back to MG Rover for an annual aggregate rent of Â£5m.
St. Modwen is also the development partner of Advantage West Midlands (AWM) on the remaining 57 acres of the site which AWM acquired from MG Rover.
Anthony Glossop, Chairman of St. Modwen, said "The MG Rover operation was always a potentially challenging project, and we are very sad that so much hard work by so many people has in the end not been rewarded with success. We created a flexible package which gave MG Rover every opportunity to re-shape its property holdings according to its business requirements.
In the short-term, the rent has been paid up to the end of June and we, as freeholder of the property, will be working with PWC to assist wherever we can. If PWC found a purchaser for the whole business or for parts of it, we would work with them to bring about the maximum viable retention of automotive activity at Longbridge.
If there is no viable automotive solution, or if a purchaser only requires part of the site, then it is positive that the site is in the hands of St Modwen, an experienced developer who knows it and the local market extremely well and is in a position to move quickly to help create alternative local employment opportunities. In that eventuality, we would work closely with Birmingham City Council, Bromsgrove District Council and AWM to put in place a regeneration strategy which would provide new business projects at the earliest possible opportunity."
According to the Financial Times a redevelopment would almost certainly be a mixed-use site with shops, offices, warehouses and some light manufacturing. Longbridge is situated on a strategic hub, being only a short distance from junctions on the M42 and M5. The authorities will almost certainly make job creation the key driver for any new use of the site. Mr Glossop has claimed that regenerating the Longbridge site could create jobs for more people than the 6,000 now employed.
Source: St. Modwen/ The Financial Times