HC Deb 10 March 1986 vol 93 c354W
Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will tabulate for General Motors and all the other bidders for parts of BL, information in so far as it relates to their bids, which indicates whether (a) the bidder was allowed to visit all or any of the BL premises, (b) permission was given to meet the plant management, (c) permission was given to meet the unions at each plant and (d) he has received any notification of dissatisfaction, by any of the bidders, about lack of availability of assistance or information in assembling their bids.

Mr. Peter Morrison

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told the House on 3 February, discussions with General Motors have reached an advanced stage. In order to examine the possibility of bringing together the BL and Bedford truck and van businesses, representatives of GM have visited Leyland Trucks and Freight Rover and have met some of the management. GM representatives have not visited the Land Rover plant at Solihull but they have met some of the Land Rover management in the course of general discussions with BL. GM has not held discussions with trade union representatives of the BL businesses. The position regarding other bidders for these businesses is set out below.

The Government are satisfied that all other commercial parties interested in all or part of the Land Rover, Freight Rover, Leyland Trucks and related businesses, who were willing to enter into the normal confidentiality agreements, have received appropriate information from BL's advisers, Hill Samuel, in order to enable them to decide whether or not to declare a firm intention to make a bid.

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 6 March, Hill Samuel has offered a meeting to Lancashire Interprises Ltd. to explain further the nature of its proposals following its preliminary expression of interest on 4 March. I understand that a meeting is taking place today (10 March) with representatives of Lancashire Enterprises Ltd. and the West Midlands enterprise board, on whose behalf the preliminary expression of interest was also made.

I understand that Lonrho and Aveling Barford have expressed dissatisfaction to Hill Samuel about the time scale in which they were asked to decide whether or not to declare a firm intention to bid, the level of financial information made available and the lack of access to premises and to plant management. The Land Rover management buy-out team led by Mr. David Andrews has, however, written to me observing that the time scale was very short but that an early decision is required in order to avoid commercial uncertainties damaging the businesses.