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Taxi To Azerbaijan: Exports Boost For Cab Maker

The company that makes London's iconic black cabs is set to return to profitability after a surge in exports to Azerbaijan. Manganese Bronze said it shipped 500 vehicles to the former Soviet nation in February and that there are more cars to follow.

The Baki Taksi Company, which was set up to help develop Azerbaijan's transport system, placed an order for 1,000 black cabs last year. It has indicated to Manganese Bronze that it could order a further 3,000 in the next two years for its 'London Taxi Service' project. Manganese said that although securing finance for a repeat order could be a constraint, the venture's success so far has created interest in the concept in other parts of the world with particular interest being shown in Italy, India and the Middle East.

Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and saw economic growth surge between 2006 and 2008 mainly due to oil exports.

However, with oil below its 2008 peak and the global economic crisis continuing, this has slowed.

Overseas demand helped Manganese Bronze, which is 20% owned by China's largest private carmaker Geely Automobiles, reduce its pre-tax loss by nearly 60% to £2.6m in 2011, compared to £6.3m the year before.

The company trebled its year-on-year sales abroad, with 705 taxis exported in 2011.

Although sales in London increased by 4% to 1,074, in the rest of the UK, demand dropped by almost a third.

Not only were British cab drivers more reluctant to spend money on new vehicles amid the economic uncertainty, the durability of the cars meant they were being replaced less often.


Source: SkyNews

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