January 10, 2012 / 10:30 PM / 8 years ago

GM hopes to wrap efforts to buy China JV stake

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) hopes to soon wrap up efforts to buy back a 1 percent stake in its Chinese joint venture that it previously sold to its partner, SAIC Motor (600104.SS), the automaker’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“It’s in process. We hope that will be resolved in the coming months,” GM CEO Dan Akerson told reporters at the Detroit auto show. “I know it’s been to their board.”

Akerson and other GM executives have repeatedly said the company has the option to raise its ownership stake in Shanghai GM, its Chinese joint venture with SAIC, to 50 percent from the present 49 percent.

GM sold a 1 percent stake in Shanghai GM to SAIC in 2010 for about $85 million. The joint venture is the biggest automaker in China.

Under the terms of its deal with SAIC, negotiated in 2009 when GM was looking to raise cash and avoid bankruptcy, GM has an option to buy back that 1 percent stake. SAIC is the majority shareholder in the China joint venture with a 51 percent holding.

Separately, GM China President Kevin Wale said the automaker expects its sales in that country to outpace the industry’s expected 2012 growth rate of 7 to 10 percent.

Wale also said GM will add more than 200 dealers in China this year to the 2,700 it had at the end of 2011. Of those, about 150 will be Buick and Chevrolet combined, about 30 will be Cadillac and about 50 will be for the joint venture’s China brand, Baojun.

Reporting by Ben Klayman; editing by John Wallace and Matthew Lewis

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