China's Biggest Air-Conditioner Maker Buys Electric Car Company

  • Gree Electric to fund Zhuhai Yinlong purchase with share sale
  • Zhuhai Yinlong's lineup includes plug-in passenger cars, buses

Gree Electric Appliances Inc., China’s largest air-conditioner maker, is buying electric vehicle company Zhuhai Yinlong New Energy Co. to diversify its business outside of home appliances.

Gree, based in the same southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, will finance the acquisition of Yinlong through a share sale and plans to release more information on April 4, in line with disclosure requirements, it said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Sunday. The company didn’t disclose a value for the purchase.

Gree aims to dominate the air-conditioning market globally and pursue “technology-oriented diversified development,” according to its 2014 annual report. The company made about 85 percent revenue from manufacturing air conditioners and parts, with 10 percent coming from other household appliances including water heaters, according to the report. It sells two out of every five air-conditioners in China, according to data from Euromonitor International.

Yinlong, which started manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles in 2009, now has a line of seven electric passenger cars and 18 electric buses, according to its website.

Gree competes with Midea Group Co. and Haier Group Corp. in the world’s most-populous nation and has factories in Brazil and Pakistan. The company derives 11 percent of its revenue from outside China.

Trading of Gree shares have been halted since Feb. 22 due to the acquisition. The stock was unchanged at 19.22 yuan on Feb. 19.