Volvo Cars has signed a deal with its parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to buy out the latter’s shares in their joint ventures in China to take full control of its manufacturing and sales in the world’s largest auto market as Beijing opens up more industries to foreign investors.
The agreement, which is awaiting the approval of China’s regulators, will see Volvo Cars acquire Geely Holding’s 50% stake in Daqing Volvo Car Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and Shanghai Volvo Car Research and Development Co. Ltd., according to a joint statement released on Wednesday.
The two transactions, for which financial details were not disclosed, will give the Swedish carmaker full ownership of its production plants in Chengdu and Daqing, its Chinese sales company and its R&D facility in Shanghai, the statement said.
Holding full ownership means Volvo Cars could prevent its technologies from being shared with local partners, and grants it the right to pocket all benefits earned in the Chinese market, where the company sold 166,617 cars in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 7.5%.
Volvo Cars said the transactions will start in 2022, when the Chinese government will remove the restriction on foreign ownership in joint ventures producing passenger vehicles. The transactions are expected to be formally completed in 2023.
From 1994, Beijing followed an industry policy requiring foreign carmakers to set up joint ventures with local partners before making cars in China. This lasted until 2018 when the rule was partially eased with the lifting of the cap on foreign ownership in joint ventures producing new energy vehicles.
In 2020, Beijing removed the foreign ownership restriction on commercial vehicle manufacturing.
Wednesday’s announcement comes more than a week after Volvo Cars announced plans to increase its stake in Geely-backed Swedish electric-vehicle maker Polestar to 49.5% by acquiring the additional shares from PSD Investment, the private investment company of Li Shufu, chairman of both Volvo Cars and Geely Holding.
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