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September 9, 2009

CHINA: Geely parent would buy Volvo if Ford sells

China's Geely Automotive said on Wednesday its parent company wants to bid for Ford's Volvo Car.

China’s Geely Automotive said on Wednesday its parent company wants to bid for Ford’s Volvo Car.

Analysts told Reuters the move could boost Geely’s profile and give it access to Volvo technology though some doubted it could manage an international brand.

Geely’s privately held parent, Geely Holding Group, would make any bid in conjunction with a government-backed investor, CEO Gui Shengyue told the news agency.

Last week, a Swedish newspaper, citing an anonymous source involved in the sale process, said Geely was the only firm to to have made a ‘concrete’ bid.

“I believe if Volvo is for sale and Ford has a global announcement, then our parent company will participate,” Gui said. “It is interested in Volvo’s sedan business and not trucks.”

Gui added that Geely’s parent was waiting for Ford to decide whether to sell the Swedish car maker, but that Hong Kong-listed Geely would not participate in any bid.

Rather than merely taking a stake in Volvo, Geely’s parent would seek full ownership, Gui said, adding Ford would make a decision on whether to sell Volvo within a month.

“On the assumption that the parent company successfully acquires Volvo, it will fine tune the product line and technology until Volvo becomes profitable, and then inject the assets into the listed company,” Vivien Chan, an auto analyst with Sinopac Securities, told Reuters.

Ji Junfeng of Changjiang Securities said: “I’m not sure how Geely can turn around a brand like Volvo, but maybe we should not underestimate the ability of privately owned car makers. They have been growing very fast on their own with little help from the government.”

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