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PwC administrators steer Manganese Bronze in right direction

Administrators to oversee steering fault resolution, and hope to have black cabs back on the road by mid-December

16 Nov 2012 Accountancy Age

By Rachael Singh

Mike Jervis

PWC ADMINISTRATORS have overseen the resolution of an engineering problem which contributed to the collapse of black-cab manufacturer Manganese Bronze.

Matthew Hammond, Tony Barrell, Ian Green and Mike Jervis (pictured), all in the restructuring division at PwC, were appointed joint administrators earlier this month.

Manganese faced a number of issues in recent years, with the administrators confirming it has been making losses for about four of them. However, the final nail in the coffin came when the company had to recall cabs after discovering a steering fault this year and suspended sales, which immediately hit its cash-flow.

The administrators have concentrated their efforts and resources into resolving the issue. They have now arranged for the rapid replacement of the affected faulty parts and hope to have completed repairs by 14 December.

PwC partner Hammond said: "I am pleased to be able to report that the company's employees will be part of a massive effort to begin fitting the new UK-supplied steering box to the recalled fleet within the next 48 hours. Having secured replacement parts for the entire recalled fleet, the programme to fit these new components has been devised so that all recalled fleet cars will be fitted with new replacement parts by mid-December.

"I hope that within a matter of weeks, we will have addressed the main difficulties faced by drivers and the under-supply of vehicles to the London black cab market. We are working to get taxis back on the road as quickly as possible but clearly, with the large number of vehicles affected in London and also in the regions, this work will take several weeks to complete."

The administrators are working closely with the London mayor, Transport for London, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and the Vehicle Certification Agency. They hope to deploy replacement parts for the steering defect in a 500-strong fleet of new cars, which should be released in early 2013.

Earlier this year, the business discovered a £3.9m accounting black hole in August. The company put the hole down to a failure to transfer a number of transactions into a new IT system, causing the business to overstate stock and underestimate liabilities. 

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