BEIJING -- Geely Automobile Holdings, the Chinese owner of Volvo Cars, said full-year profit at its local automaking unit probably doubled, allowing billionaire founder Li Shufu to turn his focus to another major acquisition in Sweden.
Net income last year at Geely increased "around 100 percent" from the 5.11 billion yuan ($782 million) in 2016, the company said Tuesday in an exchange filing.
The company is among automakers getting a boost in the world's biggest car market, where sales rose to a record for a 27th consecutive year. Geely forecast deliveries will rise 27 percent to 1.58 million units this year after a surge in demand in 2017, which may place the company as the biggest-selling domestic brand in China, according to analysts.
Last month, parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding announced purchasing a stake in Swedish truckmaker Volvo. The parent already owns the Volvo Car nameplate after buying it from Ford Motor. In 2013, Zhejiang Geely agreed to purchase Manganese Bronze Holdings, rescuing the maker of London's iconic black taxis after the UK automaker entered administration.
Li is turning his attention to the Swedish company's heavy vehicles in a bid to bulk up outside China. The stake would mark Hangzhou-based Geely's first foray into the heavy-truck segment.
"2017 has been an extraordinary and memorable year, in which we have taken significant steps forward on several fronts," Li told employees in his new year message. "The brands under Geely Holding Group have made exceptional progress."
Li started out making refrigerator parts and later turned a bankrupt state-owned manufacturer into China's biggest privately-owned carmaker. He cemented his reputation as a savvy dealmaker after reviving Volvo in the face of widespread industry skepticism following the purchase from Ford in 2010.
The Volvo brand is going to help Geely outperform peers in the future, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steve Man said.