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Argentum Motors acquires controlling stake in Heuliez Print E-mail
Written by Viswanath   
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
New Delhi: India’s largest independent automotive contract manufacturer, Argentum Motors, has acquired 60% stake in the French automobile and design company, Heuliez S.A, for 25 million euros.

Mr. Ajay Singh ,Chairman of Argentum,  stated that the company has signed definitive documents for the acquisition of a controlling interest  in Heuliez  and  the Commercial court of Bressuire approved the "safeguard plan" (plan de sauvegarde) proposed by Argentum and Groupe Henri Heuliez and Heuliez SA.

Heuliez has been put up for sale because of its difficult financial situation. In October 2007 the court of Bressuire launched a safeguarding procedure for the company.

Heuliez said that a 10 million-euro investment will be immediately made by Argentum and the remaining amount will be made available gradually depending upon the needs of financing for new projects and investments.

As part of the re-structuring, Heuliez will be spun-off into three business units: Heuliez Electric, Heuliez Engineering & Design and Heuliez Manufacturing.

Heuliez Electric will build electric vehicles under the Heuliez brand for the global market. The company will also engage in international programs with global players to develop electric vehicle technology and vehicles.

Heuliez Engineering and Design will work closely with Argentum Engineering & Design to build a global automotive design company.

Heuliez Manufacturing will oversee Heuliez factories in France, India, Spain and Slovakia and build cars and automotive parts for the global market.

Mr. Ajay Singh stated that they were delighted with the investment and that it will provide Argentum with a strong distribution platform to engage with European auto majors. "Heuliez will be our bridge into Europe and we will take Heuliez to the rest of the world."

He said, “It will enable Argentum Engineering to leverage Heuliez's design business to build a truly global automotive design company. Through Heuliez, Argentum will emerge as a world leader in the design and manufacture of electric vehicles. We are confident that Heuliez and Argentum together will make a tremendous impact on the global automotive world."

Gerard Queveau, chairman of the supervisory board of Groupe Henri Heuliez, also welcomed the development and said, "This is a new beginning for Heuliez. The entry of Argentum will bring new opportunities and open new markets for Heuliez. I am confident that this company can now focus on building cars and technology that will revolutionize the automotive world."

Founded in 1925 and based in Cerizay, France, Heuliez is a family-controlled firm specializing in retractable hardtop roofs and contract manufacturing for leading car manufacturers such as Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, General Motors, EADS and Daimler Benz.

Known for its cutting-edge auto design, Heuliez has more than 1,100 employees in France, Spain and the Slovak Republic and it has commercial representation in Germany, Korea, Japan and China. The company has over 25 years of experience in designing and building electric cars. Heuliez currently builds the Opel Tigra TwinTop, but the contract ends in 2009.

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