Wednesday, April 1, 2009

So Who Exactly is Buying a Piece of Delphi?

My previous post repeated the rumor that some Chinese entity was about to buy part of Delphi, GM's parts supplier spinoff. Since then, a few more details on the buyer, and what they are buying, have been revealed.

According to the Detroit Free Press (via Gasgoo.com), Delphi is selling its brakes and suspension businesses. Gasgoo also offers the interesting observation that, "by keeping Delphi alive, Beijing assists the US government in keeping GM alive".

So who is "Beijing" in this scenario?

When we non-Chinese refer to "Beijing", we typically mean the Central Government. That is not the case in this story. Gasgoo reports that the City Government of Beijing, among others, will be involved, and this report at Economic Observer sheds more light.

The entity buying these pieces of Delphi has been referred to in English as "Beijing West". Its Chinese name is 北京京西重工有限公司, or abbreviated as 京西, i.e. Beijing West. Apparently Beijing West was established for the specific purpose of purchasing these assets of Delphi with registered capital of 800 million RMB.

According to Economic Observer, Beijing West has three shareholders, one of which is the City Government of Beijing, represented by the Fangshan District State-owned Assets Managment Company (
北京房山国有资产经营有限责任公司) which holds a 25 percent stake.

The largest shareholder is Capital Iron & Steel (首钢, "Shougang") which will hold a 51 percent majority interest in the entity. Some readers may remember that the near-bankrupt Shougang was featured in the excellent Frontline documentary "China in the Red" several years back.

The third shareholder, which holds the remaining 24 percent, is a bit of a mystery to me. The Detroit Free Press says the third shareholder is "Tempo Group", a Chinese parts supplier. Economic Observer says it
is 宝安投资发展有限公司, or BaoAn Investment Development Company. A Google search of both Tempo and BaoAn has gotten me nowhere, so perhaps a reader out there may have some insight to offer on this mystery investor.

My only observation here is not particularly profound, but I continue to find it amazing that, when governments at all levels in China want something to happen, newly-registered companies seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere with all their paperwork in order.