CHINESE carmaker Geely has bought Manganese Bronze, the maker of London's black taxis, for 11 million pounds (US$17.5 million), keeping jobs and output of the vehicles in Britain.
Manganese Bronze, whose taxis have been on British streets since 1948, went into administration in October, with about a third of its 300-strong workforce losing their jobs.
Geely, which already owned about a quarter of Manganese Bronze, yesterday said it has agreed a deal with administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers to buy "the business and principal assets" of the company.
"Geely's priority will be to re-establish the manufacture, sale and servicing of new and current vehicles on broadly the same basis as existed before the business went into administration," Geely Chairman Li Shufu said.
"This will include the continued assembly of the TX4 at Manganese Bronze's existing Coventry plant in the West Midlands," Li said.
Manganese Bronze has failed to turn a profit since 2007.
Late last year, the company said its financial position was unclear after the discovery of a safety defect in its new TX4 model that led to a recall of 400 taxis and a halt to sales.
The recall was the latest in a spate of problems to have plagued the taxi maker and coincided with market share gains by rival Eco City Vehicles' Mercedes Vito taxi. Japan's Nissan Motor Co is also due to launch its own taxi in Britain.
Manganese Bronze shares closed at 10 pence on October 11, the last day they traded on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the company at 3 million pounds.