US school bus maker Blue Bird Corp said it wants to work jointly with Chinese partners, but it denied a Reuters report saying that China's Zongshen Industrial Group Co is discussing with the company about a US$250 million acquisition deal.
"We are looking at the opportunities to form a partnership with Chinese manufacturers but no agreement has been reached yet," Blue Bird said in a statement yesterday.
The US company is reportedly also discussing with Xiamen Winterthur International New Energy Automobile Co about local production of school buses in Haicang in Xiamen.
The sales of school buses may hit 70,000 units this year, Sinolink Securities Co said in a recent report, adding the demand may grow explosively, according to analyst Wu Wenzhao.
But Blue Bird denied a Reuters report earlier this week saying that China's motorcycle producer Zongshen was negotiating with the US firm to buy all of its shares. The report cited Zuo Zongshen, chairman of Zongshen, as saying during the National People's Congress session in Beijing. The plan also included building a school bus factory capable of producing 50,000 buses in Chongqing where Zongshen is headquartered.
"This is 100 percent false," Erin Lake, marketing communication manager of Blue Bird, said in an e-mail. "Blue Bird has never spoken to the Zongshen Group."
China has highlighted school bus safety following a series of accidents last year.
Blue Bird, based in Fort Valley in Georgia, is now the second biggest school bus maker in the US with about 30 percent share of the market.