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Dongfeng to put US$1.1 bil. in Peugeot

BEIJING--Chinese automaker Dongfeng said Wednesday it will invest 800 million euros (US$1.1 billion) in France's Peugeot and expand cooperation in China's fast-growing market.

The agreement would give struggling PSA Peugeot Citroen much-needed capital while state-owned Dongfeng Motor Co. gains access to a well-known brand and advanced technology to help expand its share of the Chinese auto market.

Dongfeng said the Chinese company, the French government and the Peugeot family will own equal stakes in Peugeot and each is expected to gain equal voting rights.

Chinese companies, cash rich from the country's economic boom, increasingly are acquiring stakes in foreign brands to improve their competitive edge at home and diversify by expanding abroad.

In a statement, Dongfeng said the French government is expected to buy the same number of shares on the same terms. That would bring Peugeot at least 1.6 billion euros (US$2.2 billion), less than the 3 billion euros (US$4.1 billion) it said earlier it hoped to raise.

Dongfeng said it and Peugeot will expand cooperation in technology, research and development, manufacturing and overseas distribution.

Dongfeng is one of China's biggest auto producers but is largely unknown abroad. In addition to its joint venture with Peugeot, it assembles vehicles for Japan's Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. and manufacturers cars and trucks under its own name.

The agreement came after General Motors Co. in December sold its 7-percent stake in Peugeot.

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In this Nov. 21, 2013 photo, a model poses beside a Peugeot 2008 in front of a screen that reads “Dongfeng Peugeot” at the company's booth during Guangzhou 2013 Auto Show in China's southern city of Guangzhou. Chinese automaker Dongfeng said Wednesday, Feb. 19 it will invest 800 million yuan (US$1.1 billion) in France's Peugeot and expand cooperation in China's fast-growing market.

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