China's Geely Holding Buys Strategic Stake in Volvo Trucks

29 December, 2017, 01:01 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • China's Geely adds to Swedish assets by taking major stake in truck-maker Volvo

Chinese vehicle maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group said Wednesday that it would by a $3.23 billion stake in Swedish truck and bus company Volvo AB, another sign of Chinese companies' appetite for global auto assets, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Earlier this year, Geely bought 49.90% of Malaysian auto business Proto and 51% of Lotus (owned by Proton) and in 2013 Geely saved the struggling London Taxi Company after purchasing it.

But in 1999 that all changed when Ford bought Volvo Cars from AB Volvo, makers of Volvo Trucks.

Earlier this month, China Central Television reported that Geely is interested in acquiring a 3% to 5% stake in Germany's Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, for about 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion).

AB Volvo owns 45 percent of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, one of China's largest truck makers, and also has a significant construction equipment business in China.

"We will treat the new owners in the same way that we treat our other shareholders", a spokesman for AB Volvo said. Geely and Cevian declined to disclose the exact value of the transaction.

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In its last full year, AB Volvo had sales of 301bn Swedish kronor (£27bn) and a pre-tax profit of 20.8 Skr.

According to the news feature, this would make the deal the most lucrative exit ever by an activist, according to Nomura, topping the €2.7 billion (Rs 20,638 crore) Icahn Enterprises made past year when selling American Railcar Leasing. It also owns the company that makes London's black cabs and has invested in sports carmaker Lotus.

The stake, representing 8.2% of Volvo's capital and 15.6% of the votes, would mark Hangzhou-based Geely's first foray into the heavy-truck segment.

Christer Gardell, Cevian's co-founder, said the activist was happy to have helped the Volvo Group become a more competitive and valuable company.

Industrivarden declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

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