Zhejiang Geely Said to Bid for Manganese Bronze

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. has submitted a bid to buy Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc, the maker of London’s black cabs that’s under creditor protection, two people familiar with the matter said.

Zhejiang Geely, which owns Swedish automaker Volvo Cars, is offering to buy 80.03 percent of Manganese Bronze, one of the people said, declining to say how much the company is offering for the stake. Both people asked not to be named because the talks are private.

A purchase of the cab maker will help Zhejiang Geely, the closely held automaker headed by Li Shufu, speed up its overseas expansion. Manganese Bronze, which has made taxis in Coventry, England since 1948, is fighting for survival after going into administration -- a form of creditor protection -- on Oct. 30 after the tie-up with Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. (175) failed to yield savings.

Geely Auto, the Hong Kong-traded unit of Zhejiang Geely, owns 19.97 percent in the cab maker. The listed unit isn’t involved in the bid, one of the people said.

A Zhejiang Geely spokesman declined to comment on whether the company is making the bid. A London-based spokeswoman for Manganese Bronze’s administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, couldn’t immediately comment on the bid.

Geely Auto and Manganese Bronze entered a cab-making joint venture in 2006 in Shanghai to reduce costs of producing the iconic taxis. Under the deal, the British manufacturer bought components and body parts from Geely before assembling them in the U.K. Geely in return can sell the cabs in China and parts of Asia.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Tian Ying in Beijing at ytian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chua Kong Ho at kchua6@bloomberg.net

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