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MP Lucy Allan: GKN takeover should be halted

By Mark Drew | Telford | Politics | Published:

Telford MP Lucy Allan has called for a change in the rules after declaring she is “gutted” by the takeover of GKN.

GKN's wheels and structures plant in Telford

She has joined calls for the Government to intervene to block the takeover of the company, which has up to 400 staff based at the town’s Hadley works.

But Ms Allan says she accepts that little can be done to prevent Melrose from owning GKN after it won a shareholders’ vote.

The MP is a former accountant with Price Waterhouse and specialised in the manufacturing sector, with GKN as a client.

She said: “There are those who will say Melrose is a UK company subject to UK law and that, in theory, the takeover of GKN is just a change of ownership from one group of UK shareholders to another.

“But in reality, we are seeing the future of a great British manufacturing company being decided by short term value investors.

"These investors, or vulture funds, came on to the GKN share register for a matter of weeks in order to make a quick and significant profit. And it is they who have decided the future of this great British company.

“Capitalism has moved on since the 1980s. Today we care about those with a long-term interest in our manufacturing sector.

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"Today the interests of employees, pensioners, customers, communities, suppliers and innovators come first – and well before the interests of hedge funds making a quick buck. No-one disagrees.

“Under the Takeover Code, as it stands, there is little likelihood of intervention from the Secretary of State on the grounds of national interest.

"If good is to come from this, it will be reform of the Takeover Code, preventing new investors from participating in a vote to decide the long-term future of a company such as GKN.

“I will fight to protect jobs and pensions. GKN has a proud history. I’m gutted.”

Ms Allan was supported by former Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, who said any other country apart from Britain would block the takeover on national security grounds. But Business Secretary Greg Clarke has ruled out action.

The aerospace and automotive firm has a wheels and structures plant in Telford and employs about 1,000 in the West Midlands.

Mark Drew

By Mark Drew
@MarkDrew_Star

Group Head of News

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