Volvo confirms sale to Chinese carmaker Geely for $1.8bn

GOTHENBURG: Troubled Volvo Cars on Sunday confirmed that Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding sealed a deal to buy the Swedish car maker from US auto giant Ford for $1.8 billion.

"I can confirm that a final agreement on the sale of Volvo to Geely was signed at 2:40 pm," Volvo Cars spokesman Per-Aake Froeberg said ahead of a news conference due around 1430 GMT.

The deal was signed at Volvo headquarters in Gothenburg by Ford's financial director Lewis Booth and Geely's president Li Shufu, Froeberg said.

Booth confirmed that the sale was for $1.8 billion (1.35 billion euros), less than a third of the 6.4 billion dollars Ford paid for Volvo Cars in 1999. Ford announced in December that it had agreed on the main terms of the sale of its loss-making Swedish subsidiary Volvo Cars to Geely, one of China's largest private carmakers.

The deal will bring to an end Ford's decade-long association with the premium Swedish brand, known for its sturdy, family-friendly cars. Volvo Cars employs around 22,000 people worldwide, including 16,000 in Sweden.

Volvo unions had earlier voiced opposition to the deal on grounds that it was vague on expansion plans and possible layoffs.

Three Volvo unions this week pressed for details "on the capital that will finance Volvo's daily activities, investment on future projects and the production target of 600,000 vehicles by 2015". However, yesterday they pronounced themselves satisfied.