UK - Ford Motor has entered into a "definitive agreement" to sell the car brands Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors for $2.3bn (€1.5bn), after it also agreed to pay up to $600m towards the two brands' pension schemes.

The US company said the deal was the culmination of its decision in August 2007 to "explore strategic options for the Jaguar Land Rover business", in an effort to focus on the core Ford brand.

Under the terms of the deal, Tata will pay Ford $2.3bn for the Jaguar Land Rover brands, including the plants and intellectual property rights, but once the deal is completed Ford has agreed to contribute up to approximately $600m to the Jaguar and Land Rover pension plans - which are valued at approximately £1.6bn and £1.5bn respectively.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, subject to regulatory approvals, although both Ford and Tata said they "do not anticipate any significant changes" to the Jaguar Land Rover employees' terms of employment".

Roger Maddison, national officer for the automotive industry at the trade union Unite, confirmed: "Unite has secured written guarantees for all five UK plants on staffing levels, employee terms and conditions, including pensions, and sourcing agreements."

Lewis Booth, executive vice president of Ford, with responsibility for Jaguar Land Rover, added: "This is a good agreement.  It provides the Jaguar Land Rover management team and employees with the assurances needed to maintain their focus on delivering the best results for the business."

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