UPDATE 1-China’s Nov industrial output, retail sales beat expectations

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial output and retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in November, suggesting resilience in the economy as Beijing seeks to prop up domestic demand amid the trade war with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Workers direct a crane lifting ductile iron pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, beating the median forecast of 5.0% growth in a Reuters poll and quickening from 4.7% in October. It was also the fastest year-on-year growth in five months.

Factory indicators for November have shown surprising improvement in manufacturing, suggesting government support measures are helping domestic demand, even as exports and producer prices shrank.

Japanese construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) said its machine usage hours in China rose for the first time in eight months in November, echoing trends seen in two manufacturing surveys.

The United States and China on Friday cooled their trade war, announcing a “Phase one” agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday described the U.S.-China trade agreement as a “totally done” deal, notwithstanding some details.

However, despite recent glimmers or hope, analysts expect growth to slow further next year, with the government likely to set economic target at around 6% due to heightened uncertainties of global trade and more domestic headwinds that are set to weigh on growth.

Fixed asset investment showed no signs of improvement, after growing 5.2% from January-November, in line with a 5.2% rise in the first 10 months, which was the weakest pace in decades.

Private sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for 60% of the country’s total investment, grew 4.5% in January-November.

China will keep economic policies stable while making them more effective in 2020 to help achieve its annual growth target, a top economics meeting said last week.

Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, said policymakers are likely to rely on a combination of tools to maintain growth next year, rather than any single policy option.

Wang said in a note to clients on Friday accommodative policy was likely to be conducted in a less aggressive manner than what markets expect.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.0% in the third quarter, a near 30-year low, but policymakers have been more cautious about growth boosting measures than in past downturns.

Retail sales rose 8.0% year-on-year in November, compared with an expected 7.6%, buoyed by the November Singles Day shopping extravaganza.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes

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SoftBank’s China strategy wobbles as key bets disappoint

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – For SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), financial technology firm OneConnect’s IPO should have been a vindication of an aggressive China investing strategy.

FILE PHOTO: Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Instead, embarrassed bankers had to slash the offering size and cut its price as investors baulked at a business model seen too reliant on majority owner Ping An Insurance (601318.SS). The IPO valued OneConnect at $3.7 billion, about half its worth last year when SoftBank’s Vision Fund invested $100 million, and its stock finished flat in its debut on Friday.

OneConnect Financial Technology (OCFT.N) is just one of many China bets placed by the Japanese investment giant or its massive Vision fund which have run into trouble. That’s added to global woes for SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, under fire for bad judgement and insufficient due diligence, exemplified by U.S. office-space startup WeWork’s disastrous IPO attempt and subsequent bailout.

In ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co Ltd’s (6060.HK) 2017 IPO, for example, SoftBank ploughed in $550 million as a cornerstone investor. But the deal was seen by some investors as way overvalued and now trades at about half its IPO price.

Its unlisted portfolio has also had problems. The Vision Fund in February invested $1.5 billion in Guazi.com, valuing the second-hand car dealing platform at more than $9 billion.

But a $500 million funding round for Guazi.com in the first half of the year failed to get off the ground, people with knowledge of the fundraising said.

The people, who were not authorised to speak to media and declined to be identified, said potential investors thought it was too pricey and were put off by its lack of profits in a sector where sales have been declining.

Guazi.com said in a statement that talks for new funds were advanced, investors included the Vision Fund and other top international investment institutions and that it expected to be profitable in the fourth quarter.

In fairness to SoftBank, many China IPOs have stumbled, hurt by a sharp slowdown in economic growth and trade tensions with the United States.

But investors and some bankers looking at China-related deals say SoftBank’s involvement, once a sign of promising prospects, was now viewed as a red flag that a company was likely overvalued.

“SoftBank has become a signal that the market has peaked,” said one person involved in the OneConnect IPO.

SoftBank declined to comment on its investments in Chinese companies for this article.

OTHER PROBLEMS

Other big bets like TikTok owner ByteDance and artificial intelligence firm Sensetime are threatened by the fallout from the U.S.-China trade conflict. The Vision Fund has invested roughly $1 billion in both, sources have said.

ByteDance is entangled in a U.S. national security review over how it handles U.S. customer data.

Sensetime in October was added to the U.S. “entity list” which bars it from buying U.S. components without U.S. government approval, over its alleged involvement in human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang.

Sensetime has countered it abides by all relevant laws of jurisdictions in which its operates and that it has been actively developing an AI code of ethics.

Ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, one of SoftBank’s biggest China bets with $11.8 billion invested, appeared to have a bright future after U.S. rival Uber (UBER.N) traded its China business for a stake in Didi.

But the rape and a murder of a Didi passenger by her driver has dented the company’s image, and its IPO timetable remains unclear after Uber valuations slid.

The Vision Fund opened a China office this year led by former Silver Lake managing director Eric Chen. Two sources familiar with the operation told Reuters that the pace of hiring for the China team has been slow, though SoftBank says the team has grown a lot since March to include about 20 investment professionals.

One source said Chen had scaled back the size of the deals he was looking at, now focusing on investments of around $50 million compared to those of $200 million-$300 million.

SoftBank declined to comment.

It’s all a far cry from just two years ago, when SoftBank and the Vision Fund were ramping up. Son had made a killing with an early investment in Alibaba (BABA.N) – a stake now worth $140 billion – and the China tech business was booming.

Then, Son’s penchant for splashy checks to help startups grow fast and quickly vanquish rivals was in full force – as evidenced by a meeting with Chinese online medical platform Ping An Good Doctor (1833.HK) in late 2017 to discuss pre-IPO fundraising.

“How much do you want to raise in the pre-IPO round and via IPO? “ Son asked Good Doctor’s CEO Wang Tao, according to sources.

Wang told him it would be $300 million and $1 billion respectively.

“How about I give you $1 billion and you drop the listing plans?” Son said.

Wang later decided not to take him up on the $1 billion, receiving instead $400 million from the Vision Fund in a pre-IPO round before listing in Hong Kong last year.

In contrast to some of SoftBank’s other China investments, its stock has made progress after a rocky start, however, climbing and mostly staying above its IPO price since October.

(This story refiles to correct SoftBank Group Corp, not SoftBank Group Inc in paragraph one)

Reporting by Kane Wu and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Yang Yingzhi in Beijing; Additional reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo and Clare Jim in Hong Kong; Writing by Kane Wu; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Edwina Gibbs

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China’s November industrial output, retail sales beat expectations

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial output and retail sales growth accelerated more than expected in November, suggesting resilience in the economy as Beijing seeks to prop up domestic demand amid the trade war with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Workers direct a crane lifting ductile iron pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, beating the median forecast of 5.0% growth in a Reuters poll and quickening from 4.7% in October. It was also the fastest year-on-year growth in five months.

Factory indicators for November have shown surprising improvement in manufacturing, suggesting government support measures are helping domestic demand, even as exports and producer prices shrank.

Japanese construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd (6301.T) said its machine usage hours in China rose for the first time in eight months in November, echoing trends seen in two manufacturing surveys.

The United States and China on Friday cooled their trade war, announcing a “Phase one” agreement that reduces some U.S. tariffs in exchange for what U.S. officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sunday described the U.S.-China trade agreement as a “totally done” deal, notwithstanding some details.

However, despite recent glimmers or hope, analysts expect growth to slow further next year, with the government likely to set economic target at around 6% due to heightened uncertainties of global trade and more domestic headwinds that are set to weigh on growth.

Fixed asset investment showed no signs of improvement, after growing 5.2% from January-November, in line with a 5.2% rise in the first 10 months, which was the weakest pace in decades.

Private sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for 60% of the country’s total investment, grew 4.5% in January-November.

China will keep economic policies stable while making them more effective in 2020 to help achieve its annual growth target, a top economics meeting said last week.

Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ, said policymakers are likely to rely on a combination of tools to maintain growth next year, rather than any single policy option.

Wang said in a note to clients on Friday accommodative policy was likely to be conducted in a less aggressive manner than what markets expect.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.0% in the third quarter, a near 30-year low, but policymakers have been more cautious about growth boosting measures than in past downturns.

Retail sales rose 8.0% year-on-year in November, compared with an expected 7.6%, buoyed by the November Singles Day shopping extravaganza.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes

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Tesla Model 3 = 9th Best Selling Car In USA

Cars

Published on December 15th, 2019 |
by Zachary Shahan

Tesla Model 3 = 9th Best Selling Car In USA

December 15th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan

We don’t have November US sales data from Ford, Chevy, or Dodge, since US automakers no longer publish monthly sales data, but if we estimate the same monthly sales for their top models as they had on average in the third quarter of 2019, we can come up with a full top 20 list of the best selling cars in the country.

With all of the data tallied, we have one electric car in the top 20*, or in the top 10 actually — the Tesla Model 3. The Model 3, based on our estimates, lands in the #10 spot in the USA in November among all cars. For the first 11 months of the year, the Model 3 was in the #9 position.

As noted in previous sales reports, the astonishing thing here is that the Tesla Model 3 has a notably higher upfront price than other models on these lists. In the long run, that can be offset by lower operational costs and higher resale value, but most consumers do not consider such matters and are unable to go above a certain upfront price and monthly financing cost.

Among other things, the Model 3’s ranking so high on the US car market seems to show the tremendous value for the money that comes with a Tesla Model 3. (Full disclosure: I have a Model 3 and bought it due to my own value-for-the-money calculations, which I thought made it a no-brainer**.)

As shown more clearly in our report on premium-class car sales in the USA, the Model 3 is in a whole other league from the rest of the market. In fact, even if you combine all small & midsize car models from other luxury automakers, the Tesla Model 3 comes out on top.

So, it is not surprising that the Tesla Model 3 is the 9th best selling car in the United States so far this year. It has been in the top 10 nearly all year. Nonetheless, this remains an impressive feat, especially for a premium-class car. Furthermore, what is perhaps most “newsworthy,” is that consumer demand has not died off. When we initially reported on explosive, record-shattering Model 3 sales more than a year ago, Tesla critics and skeptics argued that all of those sales were from pent-up demand and sales would soon fall off a cliff. They predicted such doom after the third quarter of 2018, after the fourth quarter of 2018, after the first quarter of 2019, after the second quarter of 2019, and most recently after the third quarter of 2018. November sales show that, despite very high deliveries abroad (for example, in the Netherlands), Model 3 demand and deliveries in the USA remain very strong.

December, as usual, is expected to be a big month for deliveries for Tesla, but it’s unlikely we’ll see the Model 3 rise from its 2019 position at #9. It appears there’s too much ground for the Model 3 to cover to catch up to the #8 Hyundai Elantra (which I’m honestly shocked is anywhere near the top 10, but I guess that’s the norm in this low-cost, high-volume segment of the market that dominates the top 10).

We’ll see what happens in 2020. Unless something changes with US legislation on the federal EV tax credit (possible but unlikely), Tesla Model 3 buyers will lose the ability to get an $1,875 tax credit on their purchase. That said, it’s unclear how many Americans are aware of this tax credit and it’s unlikely this has a strong effect on sales at this time since there’s been a long phaseout period and the tax credit used to be much higher.

Our own research indicates that a large portion of non-Tesla EV owners plan to buy a Model 3 next. It also indicates that 20% of Tesla buyers compared their car to a gasoline or diesel vehicle before deciding on their purchase. If word of mouth continues to grow strongly as tens of thousands of new owners get a Tesla each quarter, one would assume that consumer demand would remain strong until much more of the car market has shifted to the Model 3. Again, the basic value-for-the-money proposition seems too compelling for model demand to go in the other direction.

Many of us assumed the Model 3 could rise to the #1 position in the US car market, or at least get very close to #1. When it comes to sales revenue, the Model 3 has indeed been dominating the #1 position, but it has struggled to break into the top 4 in terms of unit sales, long the playing ground of the Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic. Perhaps in 2020?

Of course, all of these feats are without any traditional paid advertising (TV commercials, print and online media ads, etc.). Imagine if Tesla ran ads and had more production capacity.

Special thanks to EV Volumes for some support with this report.

*Technically, there’s an electric version of the Hyundai Kona and an electric version of the Kia Soul, but their sales are minimal and just a tiny portion of these models’ overall US sales. Also, you can’t find one in most states.

**If you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X and want 1,000 miles of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404 — or use someone else’s if you have a friend or family member with a Tesla who has helped you more. The referral code can also be used for a $100 discount on Tesla solar. The referral code doesn’t yet provide any benefit to people pre-ordering a Tesla Cybertruck or Model Y.
Follow CleanTechnica on Google News.
It will make you happy & help you live in peace for the rest of your life.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao.

Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.

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© 2019 Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc.

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Thousands Of Electric Vehicle Owners Told Us This …

Batteries

Published on December 15th, 2019 |
by Zachary Shahan

Thousands Of Electric Vehicle Owners Told Us This …

December 15th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan

For our newest report, Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams (2019), we surveyed thousands of plug-in vehicle drivers to find out more about their electric vehicle buying decisions, what they want from their next EVs, how EV life is going, and more. Below are some of the top-line takeaway points from the surveys of US, Canadian, and British respondents.

If you want to see more, you can buy the full report here or check out a 14-page preview here. This report was kindly sponsored by CATL* and Volta*, which helped us to collect a large number of surveys in a variety of countries in the respondents’ native languages. In the coming weeks, we will be presenting findings from German, Dutch, French, and Norwegian responses. We will also be presenting findings from non-EV owners who completed similar surveys.

This report shows yet again that Tesla vehicles (especially the Model 3 and Model Y) remain the most popular electric vehicles in the US, Canada, and the UK. Tesla drivers, non-Tesla pure EV drivers, and plug-in hybrid drivers all indicated they expected to buy a Tesla more than any other type of vehicle when they buy their next vehicle.

That said, with greater EV diversity on the market, except for Tesla owners, more than half of respondents in each group expected to buy a non-Tesla EV next. Especially popular options were the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt, and Renault Zoe. Other than those EV models, responses for many individual models were in the 1% or 2% range, but those still do add up across numerous models, showing the importance of a broader EV market.

These varied EV drivers generally expect more than 200 miles (300 km) of range from their next EV, but fewer than 340 miles (550 km) of range. There was also a strong expectation for long-lasting batteries and fast or superfast charging capability.

EV drivers showed fundamental, strong support for the environment, which was their #1 reason for buying an EV. That said, approximately a quarter of respondents indicated that they had compared the the EVs they ended up buying to gasoline or diesel vehicles before making their purchases.

Many respondents, especially Tesla owners, also indicated that advanced tech and the fun and convenience of EVs were key motivators for their decision to go electric.

Respondents were mostly replacing other vehicles when they purchased their EVs, primarily replacing non-hybrid gasoline or diesel vehicles. They mostly found EV charging and current EV driving range to be adequate for their needs.

Respondents were also quite likely to have rooftop solar panels — 32–52% of respondents indicated they had rooftop solar — and another 10–15% of respondents planned to be getting solar panels soon. Plug-in hybrid drivers and Tesla drivers in North America were least likely to have rooftop solar (32% of each group), but 14–15% of them expected to go solar soon. Tesla and other pure-EV drivers in the UK were most likely to have rooftop solar (52% and 43%, respectively), and another 10–14% (respectively) planned to go solar soon.

The majority of respondents indicated that battery brand was not important to them when purchasing an EV. However, approximately 15% said it was. It was a much more important factor for Tesla owners than other EV owners in North America, 36% of whom said it was important to them.

Tesla drivers were much more likely to have bought their cars new (76% in the UK and 91% in the US & Canada), whereas only non-Tesla EV drivers (35% in the UK and 48% in the US & Canada) and plug-in hybrid drivers (43% in the UK and 51% in the US & Canada) had bought their EVs new.

*While CATL and Volta generously sponsored this report, they did not have any influence over what was written in the report. Here’s a bit more about these two EV-related companies:

CATL EV Batteries LogoContemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (“CATL”) is a global leader in the development and manufacturing of lithium-ion power and energy storage batteries, with businesses covering R&D, manufacturing and sales in battery systems for new energy vehicles and energy storage systems. In 2018, the company’s sales reached 21.31 GWh worldwide, which was leading in the world (according to SNE Research).

Volta Charging LogoFounded in 2010 out of a passion for advancing transportation, Volta has mastered the art and science of developing cutting-edge electric vehicle charging networks. Volta is accelerating the electric vehicle movement by providing seamless, simple, and free charging experiences. Thoughtfully located along the paths of our busy lives, Volta chargers are the most used in the industry. With the support of forward-thinking brand partners, Volta delivers free charging solutions to real estate owners, power to the electric vehicle community, and impactful brand stories to everyone.
Follow CleanTechnica on Google News.
It will make you happy & help you live in peace for the rest of your life.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao.

Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.

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© 2019 Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc.

This site uses cookies: Find out more.Okay, thanksOriginal Article

Ferrari won’t produce an EV until after 2025

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Mike Marsland/Getty Images for Ferrari North Europe

Just because Ferrari unveiled its first production plug-in hybrid doesn’t mean it’s ready to completely embrace electric cars. Company chief Louis Camilleri told reporters that he didn’t expect the Italian supercar brand to produce an EV until sometime after 2025. It’s not due to hostility or skepticism, though — rather, it’s that Camilleri doesn’t believe the technology meets Ferrari’s expectations.

The executive said there were “significant issues” with range and recharging speeds preventing Ferrari from making the leap. Although Ferrari had been looking at the possibility of an electric GT car, the focus would be on hybrids like the SF90 Stradale. The firm wants hybrids to represent 60 percent of its sales by 2022, and it’s exploring alternatives like hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels to determine what would be “the most efficient and effective.”

This is unfortunate news if you’re eager to see how Maranello handles an emissions-free car, although it’s not surprising given the current state of electric supercars. Porsche’s Taycan is nimble and consistently fast, but the EPA also estimated a range of just 201 miles — and the ultra-fast chargers needed for those vaunted 20-minute top-ups are still scarce. Ferrari may consider it difficult to justify a grand tourer that could be hamstrung by the same technical limitations.

The tech is catching up. Tesla’s next-gen Roadster is supposed to boast a 620-mile range through a dense battery pack, and that’s on top of a claimed 1.9-second 0-60MPH time and a 250MPH-plus top speed. Extra-fast chargers are becoming more commonplace, too. It’s just a question of whether or not these advancements are coming quickly enough to satisfy Ferrari, and whether or not it feels any added pressure to ditch the burbling engines that have defined its lineup for decades.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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Next-gen Mini Clubman could be reinvented as an SUV

He did talk about the efforts being made to improve the space efficiency of Mini’s next three-door hatchback. Heilmer said: “For future architecture, we’re having weekly discussions to improve interior space and reduce the car’s footprint. But it’s not solved yet. Maybe next year.” He also noted that the “development cost is also an issue”.

“It’s not necessarily the internal combustion engine that needs the space – even with an EV (which has a smaller motor) you still need a crash box,” Heilmer continued, referring to the progressively deformable and substantial structure around the powertrain. “Crash performance is the bigger issue.”

Another challenge is dealing with “an electric motor that might keep running”. This is a post-crash circumstance that does not usually affect cars with internal combustion engines.

Heilmer was able to provide a bit of detail on how the next hatchback’s space efficiency – and proportions – might improve, with the news that Mini is considering a new type of energy-absorbent foam between the front bumper skin and the crash bar that could potentially reduce the hatch’s much criticised and excessive front overhang.

That the foam is more expensive is an issue, but Heilmer said “everyone is pushing to improve space efficiency”. Of the five-door hatch, which is the bigger seller of the pair, he says that the design team is working to improve its aesthetics “quite a lot”.

“The footprint is most crucial with the hatch,” he said. “Size is less of a problem with the other models.”

“I want each model to be the smallest in the segment, or visually the smallest. But small may not be helpful for sales,” he admitted – hence the possibility of a larger Clubman.

Heilmer said that the design team has also been reconsidering the Mini’s “iconic features”, adding: “The face recognition is very important, but the tail-lights may not stay iconic. We’ve got to be proactive, not reactive.”

The clamshell bonnet is not necessarily a must-have and, inside, the toggle switches are being re-evaluated. “They’re good on the hatch, less so on the others perhaps,” Heilmer said, suggesting that future larger models could ditch the retro cabin touches.

READ MORE

Mini to shrink flagship hatch and launch Traveller crossover

2020 Mini JCW GP: 300bhp hot hatch priced from £34,995

First drive: 2019 Mini Electric driven on track

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VetPartners to acquire ASX-listed National Veterinary Care for $168m

Australia’s National Veterinary Care Ltd said on Monday it entered into an initial agreement to be acquired by a veterinary clinic chain operator, in a deal valued at A$248.4 million ($168.56 million).

Under the deal, VetPartners has offered to pay A$3.70 for each share of National Veterinary Care, which represents a premium of about 56.8% to the stock’s last closing price.

VetPartners, owned by private company Australian Veterinary Owner’s League Pty Ltd, owns and operates more than 140 veterinary clinics in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The board of the ASX-listed veterinary services provider said it unanimously backed the deal.

“VetPartners’ proposal represents a significant premium to National Veterinary Care’s current share price, is 100% cash consideration and offers National Veterinary Care shareholders a high degree of certainty,” said Susan Forrester, the company’s chair.

Subject to approval by the country’s Foreign Investment Review Board, it expects the scheme to be implemented in early April 2020, National Veterinary Care said in a statement.

Reuters

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