Ford's agreement with Tata for JLR to be finalised next week

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London, Mar 18 (UNI) Ford's agreement to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian motor giant Tata Motors will be finalised next week.

Insiders believe that on March 26 Ford and Tata will unveil a memorandum of understanding confirming the deal, believed to be worth one billion pound.

The agreement, according to reports, was expected this week but now seems to have been delayed until after Easter. However, full details of the final deal may not be released until the second quarter of the year.

Tata was unveiled, in January, as Ford's preferred bidder for the business, which employs more than 2,000 people at Halewood building Jaguar X-Type cars and Land Rover Freelander 2 vehicles. Trade union Unite has welcomed Tata's bid thanks to the Indian group's track record in manufacturing.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata said earlier this month that he wanted to keep Jaguar and Land Rover production in Britain and next week's agreement is expected to confirm Jaguar and Land Rover's investment plans for its UK plants for the next five years.

Ford has not made any comment on the timing of the deal. It has maintained that it still expected it to be completed in 'early 2008'.

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