Geely aims to clinch Volvo deal in early 2010: sources

HONG KONG Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:44am EST

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Zhejiang Geely Holding Group aims to conclude the acquisition of Ford Motor's (F.N) Volvo Car Corp in early 2010 and has hired consultants for restructuring and integration, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said.

German-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has been hired to launch a 100-day internal review and restructuring to improve Geely operations with a focus on sales of Geely's self-branded cars in China, a source told Reuters.

"The Volvo deal sees no more hurdles," another source told Reuters.

"It is expected to be done before Chinese New Year, and then Geely will quickly launch integration," said the source, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the deal.

The Chinese New Year will start on Feb 14.

A Geely spokesman was not available for comment.

Geely Chairman Li Shufu, who is also the Chairman of the Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile Holdings (0175.HK), has hired Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, to work on post-acquisition integration for Volvo.

The focus will be on the integration of marketing and sales in China, network distribution, logistics and joint global operations, the source said.

"Li Shufu wants to do something like Lenovo-IBM -- have a foreign headquarters and a China headquarters," he added.

Ford has selected Geely as the preferred bidder for its loss-making Swedish unit Volvo in a deal estimated to be worth about $1.8 billion. Geely, China's largest private carmaker and the producer of such mass market models as the Geely Kingkong, is seeking at least $1 billion in loans from Chinese banks to finance the deal.

Wolfgang Bernhart, a partner at Roland Berger, told mainland media earlier this year that markets and technology were the two main drivers for Chinese automakers chasing overseas brands such as Volvo, Saab and Hummer.

"Personally, I think there is the likelihood of success of such mergers and acquisitions," he said.

(Reporting by George Chen and Alison Leung; Editing by Don Durfee and Ken Wills)