New Straits Times

‘No plans to buy more stakes in carmakers’

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FRANKFURT: Li Shufu, the founder and main owner of China’s Geely, has no plans to buy further stakes in carmakers after building up a holding of almost 10 per cent in Germany’s Daimler, he told a German newspaper.

“Currently we have no plans for further purchases. We will concentrat­e for now on the developmen­t of existing holdings. There are many ideas, and there is much to do,” weekly Bild am Sonntag quoted Li as saying in an interview published yesterday.

Li has led a major acquisitio­n push globally since 2010, when he took over Volvo from Ford Motor Co in a US$1.8 billion (RM7 billion) deal. Over the last year, he has snapped up a US$3.3 billion stake in truckmaker AB Volvo, a majority stake in sports carmaker Lotus, a 49.9 per cent stake in Proton Holdings and flying car start-up Terrafugia. He already owns LEVC, the maker of London’s iconic black cabs.

His purchase of a US$9 billion stake in Daimler surprised the market and rekindled fears in Germany of its highly-prized industrial expertise falling into Chinese hands.

According to sources and documents, Li used Hong Kong shell companies, derivative­s, bank financing and carefully structured share options to become Daimler’s single largest shareholde­r.

On financing, he said some of the money was his own and some was via foreign banks.

He said none of the funding came from the Chinese government and that he did not seek the approval of the government before buying the stake.

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