Late last year, we reported that the parent company of Brilliance Auto, BMW’s Chinese partner, was in some hot water over some overdue payments. Back then, the companies came out and said that there’s no need to worry, everything’s under control but, as a new rumor suggests, that was far from accurate. According to insider info quoted by Reuters, the FAW Group (another big Chinese car maker) is interested in buying out Brilliance Auto and maybe snatching it from under BMW’s nose.
The move comes as Brilliance’s top shareholder, Huachen Automotive Group is on the brink of bankruptcy. The shares Huachen holds are amounting to 30.43 percent but, if FAW wants to buy them, it will apparently be forced to buy the 11.89 percent owned by the state-controlled Liaoning Provincial Transportation Investment Group, as the sources in China say. It’s a package deal and that would make FAW the holder of 42.32 percent of the shares and deal with BMW directly.
BMW announced back in 2018 that it was planning to increase its stake in the joint venture from 50% to 75% over the coming years, the added 25% being valued at 3.6 billion euros in 2018. However, this move could prevent them from doing that. So far, neither BMW or Brilliance Auto would comment on the rumors but the stock market has already reacted. Brilliance’s shares finished 13 percent higher on Wednesday, making its valuation reach $4.7 billion.
FAW is currently the Chinese partner of the Volkswagen Group and Toyota, being the second largest car maker in China at the moment. If the company manages to buy out Brilliance Auto it will also be in business with BMW and Renault, as BBA is also a venture partner of the French car maker. With such a move that would entail the spending of $7.2 billion in a two-stage deal, the FAW Group would boost its position in China even more.