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Nanjing Auto gears up to expand
( 2003-09-03 09:18) (China Daily)

Nanjing Automobile Corp, the newly-restructured automaker in East China's Jiangsu Province, has unveiled a plan to triple its annual sales within the next three years.

The company aims to increase its annual sales to 300,000 units by 2006, up from the 100,000 units expected this year, according to sources from Nanjing Automobile.

The company also expects its turnover to grow to 30 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) in 2006, up from this year's expected 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion), sources said.

On Sunday, the company attracted two new shareholders - Jiangsu Provincial Guoxin Asset Management Co and Jiangsu Communication Industry Co.

The automaker was previously owned by Yuejin Automobile Group in Jiangsu, and China Huarong Asset Management Company and China Cinda Asset Management Co - the two State firms created to dispose of non-performing bank loans.

With the restructuring, Nanjing Automobile's assets total 12 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion).

Yuejin controls a 52.99 per cent stake, but the company has not revealed the specific stakes of other shareholders.

Nanjing Automobile now has a total production capacity of 180,000 units a year and has three major manufacturing bases - Nanjing Iveco, a wagon joint venture with Italy Iveco, Yuejin Light Truck Co and Nanjing Fiat, a car joint venture with Italy's Fiat Auto.

The restructuring will make a widely anticipated merger between Nanjing Automobile and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, one of China's top three automakers, "almost impossible," said Jia Xinguang, an analyst with the China National Automotive Industry Research Institute.

Yuejin and the Shanghai auto firm started merger negotiations in 2001. But the negotiations halted last year as the central government transferred the management of Yuejin to the Jiangsu provincial government.

"The restructuring is a strong signal that the Jiangsu provincial government pins great hopes on us to revive the local auto industry," Zhong Dong, a researcher at Nanjing Automobile, told China Daily yesterday.

"I believe the auto industry in Jiangsu will have a rosy future as it has a sound foundation," Zhong added.

The provincial government also expects Nanjing Automobile to merge with many other smaller auto firms in Jiangsu to form a bigger group.

These firms include Yangzhou Yaxing, which operates a bus joint venture with Mercedes-Benz of the German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler AG, the Changzhou Bus Co, Ltd, which has a bus joint venture with Iveco, and the Chunlan Automobile Co.

The central government hopes to form several internationally competitive auto groups through mergers and acquisitions within the nation's fragmented auto industry which numbers around 120 vehicle manufacturers.

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