Emerald Automotive Acquired By Chinese Group; Hazelwood Agreement Still In Place | St. Louis Public Radio

Emerald Automotive Acquired By Chinese Group; Hazelwood Agreement Still In Place

Feb 28, 2014

Emerald Automotive Partners announced today that its been acquired by Chinese automotive giant Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Group).  The acquisition is not expected to affect Emerald’s agreement with Hazelwood to build energy-efficient delivery vans in the city.

Hazelwood has been in talks with U.K.-based Emerald since 2011 to locate its assembly hub in Hazelwood where they would produce the low-emission t-0001, a hybrid electric van. Hazelwood loaned Emerald $3 million for the project, and the Missouri Technology Corporation kicked in another $2 million.  

In return, Emerald has until the end of 2018 to create 300 jobs and produce 4,000 vans.

Hazelwood City Manager Matt Zimmerman says during negotiations over the last several months Geeling has quelled their concerns they had about the acquisition.

"We’re really excited to have this project fully up and running," Zimmerman said. "We’re really excited to have a multi-national corporation helping to bring that to reality." 

The agreement was welcome news in the St. Louis region where 9,000 auto manufacturing jobs were lost between 2006 and 2009.

Emerald’s local spokesman Gary Marble says he cannot provide a timeline for when the plant will be built exactly, but it is expected to be around 200,000 square feet.

He said after searching for two years for a private funder to provide $170 million, Geeling Group is a welcome partner.

"Now we have an automotive group that not only has the funding to do that, but also has the expertise and the global resources that help us fulfill many of the things that we’ve been concerned with, such as servicing the vehicles, having parts," Marble said. "Now that you have Volvo, I mean, there’s all types of opportunity for Emerald that we just didn’t have before."

In a press release, Geely Group said it would maintain Emerald’s “existing loan relationships with both the Missouri Technology Corporation and Hazelwood City, a sign that the Group may develop North American manufacturing operations in the longer term”