Geely Automobile Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed unit of China's largest private carmaker, yesterday signed an agreement to take a 23 per cent stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings, the maker of London's iconic black taxis, as part of a deal to set up a US$101 million venture with the British company to manufacture the vehicles in Shanghai. Manganese Bronze will issue 30 per cent new ordinary shares at GBP2.50 (HK$37) each to Geely to pay for a 48 per cent stake in the venture. The stake will make Geely the cab-maker's largest shareholder. Geely will hold 51 per cent of the new joint venture, while the remaining 1 per cent will be held by its parent Maple Holdings. The venture will make as many as 10,000 black cabs a year, with the first one due to roll off the production line in the middle of 2008. It will also make as many as 30,000 units of three other models, comprising a limousine and two large saloon cars. The Shanghai-made cabs are likely to be offered to British dealers from GBP15,000, about half the price currently being paid.