Lotus disputes China sale claims

MP Richard Bacon says he understands KPMG has been appointed to find a buyer for Group Lotus in China

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The owners of sports car maker Lotus have disputed claims by a Norfolk MP who told the House of Commons the firm is in talks with a Chinese firm about a possible sale.

Richard Bacon MP raised concerns a sale of the Norfolk-based firm could lead to 1,200 jobs being moved to China.

He told the Commons that consultancy firm KPMG "has been appointed" to look at selling Group Lotus to the Chinese.

But Lotus Group said it disputed "lots of the facts" presented by Mr Bacon.

In his speech to the Commons on Tuesday night, Mr Bacon said Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to the head of Lotus Group's owner Proton, Dato' Sri Syed Zainal, during his recent trip to Malaysia.

'Unfair' on workforce

Hours after that meeting, the head of Proton was "in China seeking a buyer for Group Lotus", Mr Bacon added.

"This has naturally caused immense worry and concern for the 1,200 employees at Group Lotus," he said.

"And it is unnecessary, because there are well-capitalised potential buyers of Group Lotus with a credible plan to keep the business and the jobs in the UK."

He add that one Chinese business, China Youngman, has had a commercial relationship with Lotus for many years.

Group Lotus did not comment on the Mr Bacon's comments on Tuesday, but has now issued a short statement saying: "We are disappointed that lots of the facts presented to the House of Commons were inaccurate, but we will sort this with Mr Bacon directly."

The spokesman did not elaborate on what facts the firm disputed.

Mr Bacon said on Wednesday night that Lotus has not contacted him but added: "Lotus is an important local employer and it has a responsibility to get its communications right.

"I have not found any corrections by Lotus to anything I have said but if there are any inaccuracies I think everyone should know, not just me.

"The future of the company may be at risk and it is very unfair on the workforce not to tell them what is happening."

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