Geely Automobile is to acquire bankrupt Australian automatic gearbox manufacturer Drivetrain Systems.

Geely said the deal would help expand its product line and improve its capability to develop and produce gearboxes – a key technology that Chinese automakers need to be globally competitive.

The company did not provide any financial details of the deal, saying only it had the support of both the Australian and Chinese governments, according to AFP .

The announcement came after Geely Automobile suspended trading of its shares in Hong Kong on Friday morning, pending an important announcement, which sent media into a frenzy after reports yesterday that the large independent Chinese automaker had held “preliminary discussions” with Ford about buying Volvo .

Geely spokesman Zhang Xiaodong told AFP his company had not expressed interest in Volvo and that Geely was the subject of a persistent rumour.

Drivetrain Systems is a supplier to Ford [for the Australian-designed and made Falcon and Territory SUV spinoff] and Ssangyong which filed for bankruptcy protection in February after “some of its clients were severely impacted by the financial crisis,” Geely said in the statement.

The company can produce up to 180,000 automatic transmissions per year and will continue to supply the international market while its products and technology will also be brought into China, Geely said.

Geely will help fund DSI ‘s research and development capacity and maintain its leading position in the global automatic transmission market, the Chinese firm said.