Geely expected to close Volvo deal

In what has been a tumultuous month for the Swedish auto industry, Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding could close a deal with American Ford on Wednesday for the purchase of Volvo cars, Swedish public television reports.

Although Ford and Geely were close to agreement on some key aspects, Volvo plants in Belgium and Sweden “were among issues still on the table” according to a Tuesday report from the Financial Times.

Citing unidentified sources close to the deal, Swedish television said that the parties are currently holding negotiations in London and an agreement might be expected today.

“We do not comment on the sales process,” Volvo spokeswoman Maria Bohlin told Swedish news agency TT, saying the question should go to representatives of Ford and Geely.

Geely’s spokesman in Sweden said he would not comment either.

“The only thing I can say is that the negotiations are continuing according to plan, as they always have,” Anders Fogel told TT.

Volvo Cars was founded in the western Swedish city of Gothenburg in 1927 and counts some 22,000 employees worldwide, around 16,000 of whom work in Sweden.

Ford, the number-two US carmaker, announced in December 2008 it wanted to sell the premium Swedish brand, which it fully acquired in a 6.4 billion dollar deal in 1999.

The troubled US company said in October it had tapped Geely as preferred bidder for Volvo.

Geely last month said it had reached an agreement with Ford to own the intellectual property rights to Volvo’s key technologies, including those related to safety and the environment.

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