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Volvo-Geely deal China's Biggest Foreign Auto Acquisition
2011-09-06
Brief:Geely Holding Group completed its acquisition of Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo in a $1.5 billion deal, under Chinese ownership, Volvo will strengthen its presence in the U.S. and European markets and expand in China and other emerging markets.
Geely Holding Group completed its acquisition of Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo unit Monday in a $1.5 billion deal that gives the small-but-ambitious Chinese automaker a global brand and huge management challenges.

Geely agreed in March to buy Volvo from Ford, which sold its European brands to raise cash and focus on its core Ford and Lincoln units. Geely said it paid $1.3 billion in cash plus a $200 million note — less than the $1.8 billion price announced in March due to changes in pension obligations and working capital.

"This famous Swedish premium brand will remain true to its core values of safety, quality, environmental care and modern Scandinavian design," said Geely founder and chairman Li Shufu in a statement.

Beijing has been encouraging Chinese companies to expand abroad, taking advantage of the global crisis to acquire assets at lower prices. The biggest acquisitions to date have been by government companies in the energy and mining industries.

Li said that under Chinese ownership, Volvo will strengthen its presence in the U.S. and European markets and expand in China and other emerging markets.

Li said in March that Geely expected to spend up to $900 million to return Volvo to profitability. He said Volvo's biggest problem was high research and development costs while it produces far fewer vehicles than rivals Daimler AG and BMW AG.

Volvo will keep its headquarters and manufacturing presence in Sweden and Belgium and its board will have autonomy to execute its strategic plan, Geely said.

The deal could give Geely an edge in China, which is the world's biggest auto market and one in which foreign brands often dominate. Volvo will also give the company a foothold in Europe.
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