UK Van Maker LDV Reapplies For Creditor Protection

LONDON (AP) -- U.K. van maker LDV said Tuesday it will reapply for administration, a form of bankruptcy, after a Malaysian company abandoned its rescue bid.

The British government's business minister, Ian Pearson, said Weststar was unable to proceed with a takeover despite the offer of a bridging loan.

"We gave LDV a breathing space, a bridge to the future, but in the event, unfortunately, Weststar was unable to cross that bridge," Pearson said.

LDV gave no details of its situation in a brief announcement on its blog.

"The application for administration will be in court this morning and further information will be made available as soon as the facts behind this are clear," said the company, which employed about 900 workers.

Administration is a form of bankruptcy protection. Administrators are appointed to salvage as much of the company as possible for the benefit of its creditors, which can involve trying to keep the business going concern or selling its assets.

"This is really bad, unexpected news," said Joe Morgan, regional secretary of the GMB union.

"We are firmly of the view that the UK government cannot stand aside and let these manufacturing jobs go to the wall," Morgan said.

LDV withdrew a previous application for administration on May 18 after Weststar confirmed that it intended to acquire the British company. Britain's Department of Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform had offered a bridging loan of up to 5 million pounds ($7.5 million) to help keep the company going.

LDV, formerly Leyland DAF Vans, has been owned by Russia's Gaz Group, controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, since 2006.

Weststar has exclusive rights to market, assemble, distribute and service LDV's Maxus light commercial vehicles in 20 countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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