Potential buyer pulls out of Norton deal, says report

Indian manufacturer Kinetic has reportedly withdrawn its interest in buying the Castle Donington-based Norton group of companies – currently in administration.

Norton Motorcycles entered administration in January owing £28m to creditors. It has since emerged that owner Stuart Norton sold tooling and manufacturing rights to the 961 engine to Chinese group Jinlang. Now, Biker Glory says that Kinetic, which holds the rights to make and sell Norton’s south-east Asian motorbikes has pulled out of any deal to buy the stricken firm.

Bike Glory says the Norton approached Kinetic before the firm was placed into administration with the aim of selling the the company, but the deal fell apart when Kinetic found out that Norton had debts of £40m.

Despite this, says the report, Kinetic came back to the table when BDO was appointed as administrator and it wouldn’t be liable for any of the Castle Donington firm’s debts. However, due diligence threw up a “complex web” of third party deals that Garner had struck which meant that any buyer wouldn’t be buying exclusive rights to the Norton name or logo, meaning a deal to sell Norton seems unlikely.

Garner has gone to ground since Norton feel into administration. In February he failed to show up in front of the pension’s ombudsman, despite being called to a hearing over allegations from pension fund member that their retirement savings have disappeared.

Meanwhile, Over 7,400 people have signed a petition calling for the Government to force Garner to face questions over the alleged misuse of the pension funds.