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SAIC Plans Convertible Bond Issue to Finance Brand Development
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Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC) plans to issue convertible bonds worth eight billion yuan (US$ 1.04 billion) to finance the development of its own-brand cars, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday.

The bonds, convertible into shares of the SAIC and with attached warrants entitling the purchase of shares, are expected to help the company raise up to 16 billion yuan.

But the report did not provide a timetable for the issue.

The capital would be mainly channeled into the company's project to build its own-brand passenger cars, which would need funding 21.36 billion yuan and bring a yield of 18 percent from 2007 to 2012, said the report.

Part of the capital would finance a two-billion-yuan plan to acquire platforms for developing and producing commercial vehicles, which SAIC has made a priority in its plan between 2006 and 2010.

Two billion yuan would be injected into the firm's financial unit and another two billion yuan would repay bank loans, said the report.

In October last year, SAIC unveiled the Roewe 750, a Rover 75-based sedan, as its first own-brand high-end model, after buying from failed British carmaker MG Rover Group the technology for two Rover models -- the 25 and 75 -- and their engines in 2004.

Sales of the Roewe 750 reached 7,632 units during the four months following its market launch in March this year.

SAIC, a partner of Volkswagen AG and General Motors, topped the sales list in the domestic market last year, with sales of 1.34 million vehicles, including 915,000 passenger cars and 429,000 commercial vehicles.

The company is expected to sell more than 1.5 million vehicles in 2007, encouraged by sales of 800,000 and an estimated 300-percent rise in net profits in the first half.

(Xinhua News Agency July 25 2007)

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