BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. will pay US$77.9 million
for a 72 per cent stake in the state-owned Romanian assembly plant
Automobile Craiova, a Finance Ministry official said Friday.
Ford of Europe produced 1.86 million vehicles at seven assembly
plants in 2006 and additional manufacturing space is needed to meet
ambitious new product and growth plans.
The company pledged to increase production at Automobile Craiova
from about 24,000 cars and 116,000 engines last year to 300,000 cars
and 300,000 engines. Ford said it would increase the number of
employees from 3,900 to between 7,000 and 9,000. Ford's investments
to upgrade and modernize the site would reach $1.37 billion by 2012,
Ford, which was the only bidder for the Craiova plant, made an
initial financial offer of $75.2 million for the shares, which it
later raised, said Sebastian Vladescu, a state secretary in the
Finance Minister and privatization official.
The government and Parliament need to approve a special law for
the privatization to meet certain requirements of the automaker,
based in Dearborn, Mich.
Ford had said in July it would spend $923 million developing the
former Daewoo car factory into a major facility for its vehicle and
engine production requirements.
Romania paid $60 million last year to buy a 51 per cent stake in
the company from Daewoo's creditors. The government will maintain
partial ownership after it sells the controlling stake to Ford.
Vladescu said he expects the deal to be signed next week.