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Copyright 2002 Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Deutsche Presse-Agentur

March 21, 2002, Thursday
14:40 Central European Time

SECTION: Finance

LENGTH: 314 words

HEADLINE: Britain's Rover and China Brilliance in car joint venture


British carmaker MG Rover on Thursday signed a deal with China Brilliance to design new cars to be built in both Britain and China.

A new joint venture company would be created, with ownership shared equally between MG Rover and China Brilliance, Rover said.

The deal envisages the companies using each other's engines and setting up a parts supply base, but does not involve either company taking a financial stake in the other. No financial details were made public. Rover said discussions with China Brilliance related to "the formation of a wide-ranging strategic alliance and cooperation agreement". It added that several meetings had taken place but no formal decisions taken.

Rover, based at Longbridge near Birmingham, has been seeking a partner for some time to finance designing a new vehicle range.

The company, the last British-owned car manufacturer of any size, has a chequered recent past, and motor sector analysts regard the company, sold off by *** in 2000 for a token 10 pounds after mounting losses, as too small to survive on its own.

China Brilliance is China's largest minibus manufacturer. Part of the Brilliance Group, it has controlling interests in several companies listed on the Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges.

Within China Brilliance Holdings are subsidiary companies with links, to ***, Toyota, General Motors, Mitsubishi and Renault.

In January the company that makes London's distinctive black taxis signed a 20-year deal with China Brilliance to make them in China. The company aims to sell the black cabs in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Rover said it was already taking on hundreds of new workers and trade unionists welcomed the news as a boost for Britain's manufacturing industry, which is in decline despite a generally favourable picture in the economy as a whole.

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LOAD-DATE: March 21, 2002
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