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No nod yet for Tengzhong's bid

AUTHORITIES in southwest China's Sichuan Province confirmed yesterday that Tengzhong's plan to buy General Motors Corp's Hummer unit was still being examined by regulatory departments and there had been no approval so far.

Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co Ltd (Tengzhong), a private Chinese firm, struck a preliminary deal with GM for the premium sport utility vehicle brand on June 2.

Tengzhong, based in Deyang, Sichuan Province, clarified the next day that it had no plan to manufacture Hummer in a Chinese plant, according to Zhao Xiaolu, an official at Brunswick Group Ltd, which is handling the public relations matters for the deal. The size of the deal has been kept confidential.

The preliminary deal allows Tengzhong to keep the management and operational team along with the Hummer brand, leaving more than 3,000 jobs secure in the United States. The Chinese buyer will also assume existing dealer agreements relating to Hummer's dealership network.

Tengzhong, however, has to go through other procedures, including getting approval from the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission, before it can close the deal with GM by the end of the third quarter of this year in accordance with a schedule.

The acquisition plan has drawn unprecedented attention and has even been shrouded in mystery since its announcement because Tengzhong has been shunning the media.

Speculations vary. Some media reports said the NDRC is likely to reject Tengzhong's acquisition plan, citing Tengzhong's lack of expertise to run Hummer - whose gas-guzzling vehicles conflict with China's focus on energy efficiency.

Yan Zhuolin, chief of foreign trade and economy with the Sichuan Provincial Commerce Department, said in a phone interview with Xinhua that he hadn't heard of any progress regarding the commerce ministry's approval of Tengzhong's acquisition plan.

Zhao said yesterday that she had heard rumors about Tengzhong's plan, but the firm would not comment.


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