Rover: Union intervention in Munich

Today senior union representatives are to meet with BMW officials to advocate the Phoenix offer.

Today senior union representatives are to meet with BMW officials to urge the Munich car maker to allow more time for evaluating the Phoenix offer made for Rover.

Phoenix, which is led by former Rover executive John Towers, has vowed to produce up to 250,000 vehicles a year at Rover and save about two thirds of relevant jobs. Rival Alchemy wants to focus on mid-volume manufacturing of sports cars which is thought to cost up to 19,000 jobs in the West Midlands, Rover's homeland.

According to a BBC report, talks between Towers and BWM on Wednesday had left both sides “with more to talk about”, suggesting that the odds for Phoenix are improving.

Meanwhile BMW emphasised that it was “merely in talks” with Phoenix. The exclusive negotiation agreement with Alchemy was still in place.

At any rate the clock is ticking. Britain's secretary for trade and industry, Stephen Byers, said yesterday he had little doubt hat Alchemy and BMW are about to come to an agreement . Byers told the BBC that a deal was likely to be closed within days.