Thursday 19 September 2013

Millbrook sale edges closer

Those expecting news of the sale of Millbrook proving ground in Lidlington, Bedfordshire, will have to wait a little while longer for the details to emerge.

Insiders note that while a signing could be ‘close’ the actual public release of contractual details regarding the new owner and its plans for the extensive proving grounds to the north of London will not emerge until ‘late November or early December’.

The process of due diligence, always a problem in the sale of any business, has proved to be unusually lengthy considering the relatively small size of the business.

JaguarLandRover was tipped initially as the potential lead purchaser (together with Transport for London), but in recent months JLR’s name appears to have slipped in and out of the frame.

While the Bedfordshire site with its extensive – and secret – proving grounds and engine test facilities has obvious potential and value for a vehicle builder, such a location offers obvious attractions to other automotive vendors such as AVL and Ricardo, as well as vehicle builders such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Earlier this year, the proving ground, which describes itself as one of Europe's leading test and development centres for every type of land vehicle from motor cycles, passenger cars, heavy commercial vehicles and buses, to military vehicles and agricultural vehicles, has showcased its Portable Emissions Measuring system. It has also signed a co-operative agreement with the Sweden-based Colmis proving facility. Miguel Fragoso is Millbrook's managing director.

With the production and variety of vehicles being built in the UK on the increase, demand for the facilities on offer make it an attractive proposition. Its acquisition will be much prized.  

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