Directors Peter Beale and John Edwards of the vilified Phoenix Four are in line for a massive multi-million pound Christmas bonus from the remnants of the Longbridge empire, it was revealed today.
The two former Longbridge bosses, who with fellow directors John Towers and Nick Stephenson have already enriched themselves to the tune of around £9 million each, will be entitled to another huge cash windfall next month.
Liquidators recently appointed to MGR Capital Ltd – MG Rover’s finance and lease loan book – revealed that another potential fortune would be available for shareholders Beale and Edwards after December 11.
The date has been penciled in by liquidators Begbies Traynor for creditors to apply for compensation from MGR Capital, a solvent company boasting shareholder funds of £23,232,000 at the end of 2008.
With only the Inland Revenue as a creditor, the vast majority of the £23 million plus sum will be available for potential share-out before Christmas between the two ex-Phoenix directors and fellow shareholder HBOS.
But Northfield Labour MP Richard Burden today reiterated calls for Beale and Edwards to hand over their millions to the trust fund for ex-employees and a community development trust in Longbridge.
Mr Burden said: “There is a very large amount of money there and, however you cut it, that money came out of operations related to the Rover Group and associated companies.
“If there is going to be any positive legacy out of the Phoenix years, that money has got be put to socially beneficial uses. Part of that should be to the trust fund for former employees and part to a community development trust for the area.
“The idea that that amount of money should just go for personal gain is wrong. Ultimately history will judge them (the Phoenix directors).
“There is a chance for Peter Beale and John Edwards to hand over large sums of money. If they do not do that, people will say that they were in it for what they could get. Their reputations are in their own hands now.”
A spokesman for Phoenix Venture Holdings said he was unable to say whether the two ex-directors would take the money after December 11.
He said: “I do not know. We are not thinking that far ahead – they are not counting any chickens in terms of what might be in the fund.
“This was a loss-making company; it was a risk and it made profits because it was well-managed by HBOS and the directors. During the lifetime of MG Rover, £23 million was paid or transferred from MGR Capital into the car-making operation.”
Liquidator Paul Stanley, of Begbies Traynor, said: “MGR Capital was a solvent company which has not traded for years. The creditors will get paid first, with interest, and if there is any money left over, it is available for shareholders. After December 11, money will be available.”