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London black cab maker in administration
Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, makers of the iconic London black cab, has called in the administrators.
Its board released a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning, revealing that its efforts to secure further funding to keep the business afloat had proved unsuccessful, and it was no longer a going concern.
In recent weeks, the Coventry-based London Taxi Company, a subsidiary of Manganese Bronze Holdings plc, had been dogged by issues relating to faulty steering boxes in its TX4 model, which led to more than 400 taxis being recalled.
Its stock-market quoted parent company then had its shares suspended from trading earlier this month – and sales of the TX4 halted – as it continued to try and find a solution to the issues with its power steering. The problems appear to centre around a new design of steering box, reported to have been sourced from a new Chinese supplier since February this year.
Its Chinese manufacturing partner Geely, with whom it jointly owns a Shanghai-based production facility, is believed to have introduced the new supplier to the company.
The firm sold 1,502 taxis in the UK last year – a decline of 9.1% on the previous year’s figure – and its parent company Manganese recorded a £3.1m loss in the first half of 2012.
It’s understood the steering box issues have not put anyone in danger – although some press reports have quoted the company as saying “in extreme cases, it could affect the ability to steer the steering wheel”.
The London Taxi Company employs 300 people across its Coventry manufacturing facility and a network of six wholly owned retail sites. Parent company Manganese issued a profit warning in January which revealed it had made no profit in 2011 and would struggle to match market expectations in 2012.
Could this be the end of London’s world-famous black cabs? We certainly hope not.
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