TVR sold

Published: 22 February 2007

Russian businessman Nikolai Smolenski is back in charge of the failed TVR business – and looks set to move production abroad.

The deal was announced on Thursday evening, after the administrators PKF Partners struck a deal with Smolenski to buy TVR’s assets for an undisclosed sum, thought to be in excess of £2m. The Russian businessman bought TVR in 2004 for around £15m, but sales stalled and the Blackpool factory crashed into administration at Christmas time. Smolenski had been planning to move production abroad, to a cheaper third-party contractor. But in an unusual twist, it turned out that Smolenski didn’t own the trademark seized along with the other assets of Blackpool Automotive, the company that ran the factory, by the administrators in December. Embarrassingly, Smolenski has now had to buy the TVR name back.

But the news signals his intent to continue to build the TVR brand back up to its former glories and he is expected to push ahead with production abroad. Joint administrators Philip Long, Kerry Bailey and Matthew Gibson said: ‘Having advertised the assets of the company to the open market, we are confident we have achieved the best possible price in the circumstances and we are now looking to return money to the creditors as quickly as possible. ‘While we had a significant number of companies expressing an interest, four demonstrated they had the funds required to enter a bidding process. Ultimately, Mr Smolenski’s company came in with the highest offer.’ One of the other bidders was identified as Al Melling, the Lancashire engineer and the man who designed some of TVR’s most memorable engines.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet