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Emerald Automotive sold to China’s Geely Group : Business

Sale provides financing to move forward with production, company says.

Chinese automotive companyZhejiang Geely Holding Grouphas acquired Emerald Automotive, an electric vehicle startup that wants to manufacture commercial vans in Hazelwood.

Emerald Automotive said the sale will provide financing, which will allow it to move forward with plans for a vanassembly line in the north St. Louis County suburb, although the company did not say when a plant will open.

After initially announcing plans to open a facility in Hazelwood in 2011, Emerald withdrew its application for a green-auto loan from the U.S. Department of Energy and pursued private financing instead.

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Emerald Automotive sold to China’s Geely Group

Sale provides financing to move forward with production, company says.

Chinese automotive company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has acquired Emerald Automotive, an electric vehicle startup that wants to manufacture commercial vans in Hazelwood.
Emerald Automotive said the sale will provide financing, which will allow it to move forward with plans for a van assembly line in the north St. Louis County suburb, although the company did not say when a plant will open.

After initially announcing plans to open a facility in Hazelwood in 2011, Emerald withdrew its application for a green-auto loan from the U.S. Department of Energy and pursued private financing instead.

Financial terms of the sale to Geely, which closed Friday, were not disclosed.

The Geely group is a Fortune Global 500 company that reported $24.6 billion dollars in revenue last year. Geely’s brands include Volvo and the London Taxi Co.

“By working closely with Emerald, we will be able to offer a new, unique range of vehicles that employ best-in-class technology in targeted markets and regions,” Daniel Li, chief financial officer of Geely Group and chairman of Geely UK, said in a statement.

Geely is investing a minimum of $200 million over the next five years to develop Emerald’s new vehicles, according to the company. Geely also said it will maintain Emerald’s existing loans with the Missouri Technology Corp. and city of Hazelwood. A $3 million loan agreement with Hazelwood requires Emerald to build 4,000 t-001 delivery vans locally by the end of 2017, and create 300 jobs. Emerald, which is based in Hazelwood and the United Kingdom, has until the end of 2018 to pay back the loan.

“This brings a much larger and more capitalized organization to the table with knowledge and expertise,” said Matt Zimmerman, Hazelwood city manager. “It makes it that much more likely for the plant to move ahead.”

As part of the sale, Geely is keeping Emerald’s management team in place, including CEO Andy Tempest, and adopting its business plan for the vans, said Emerald’s spokesman Gary Marble.

Emerald has not yet identified whether it will build a new facility — ranging in size between 200,000 and 225,000 square feet — or renovate an existing structure. “It all comes down to what is most cost-effective,” Marble said.

Geely has struggled to gain a foothold in the U.S. The company participated in the Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in 2006, but plans to sell its Chinese brands domestically failed to materialize. After its parent company bought Volvo in 2010, a Geely division, Geely Automotive Holdings, announced plans recently to partner with Volvo to develop a subcompact car for sale in the U.S.

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