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September 24, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

Car maker's shares rise 19%

SHARES of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd rose 19 percent yesterday after China's biggest private auto maker announced plans to sell convertible bonds and warrants to a unit of Goldman Sachs Group to raise HK$2.59 billion (US$334 million).

Geely said proceeds from the sale will be used to improve the company's financial structure and fund future acquisitions, a move that is widely believed to be helping build up cash for a possible bid for Ford Motor Corp's Volvo unit.

Geely, based in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, said it will issue five-year bonds, carrying a convertible price of HK$1.90, and warrants to Goldman Sachs Capital Partners VI Fund, according to a statement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday.

The deal will give the Goldman Sachs affiliate as much as 15 percent of Geely's expanded share capital if the investment arm fully exercises its rights.

Geely shares closed at HK$2.13 yesterday. They have more than tripled since the beginning of the year.

A sound balance sheet is one of the biggest hurdles for Geely's ambitions. Senior company executives confirmed earlier this month that the auto maker's parent company was interested in buying Volvo's car business.

Earlier media reports said Geely may offer US$2 billion for Volvo, a price lower than the US$6.49 billion Ford paid when it acquired the Swedish car maker.

Geely is among several Chinese car makers eager to buy foreign rivals to get their hands on advanced technologies and international distribution networks. Their interest in overseas mergers and acquisitions coincides with an era when many global corporate giants have hit hard times and are keen to sell assets.

State-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp has announced it will take a stake in Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg Group AB, which is fielding a bid for General Motors' Saab unit.

Other car makers, including Chery Automobile Co, have also been reported to have held exploratory talks with US and EU car makers on possible acquisitions.


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