Geely Automobile Holdings said yesterday it had acquired Australian automatic transmission supplier Drivetrain System International (DSI). Zhejiang-based Geely agreed to pay up to A$58 million (HK$313.22 million), including A$47.4 million in cash and the rest in assumed debt. Under the agreement, Geely would help fund DSI's research and development, the carmaker said on its website. This is the second overseas acquisition for the mid-sized carmaker, which shifted its business last year to making more expensive hi-tech cars. It bought a 23 per cent stake in Manganese Bronze, the maker of London black cabs, in 2007. DSI, with an annual capacity of 180,000 automatic transmission systems, supplies parts to Ford Motor and South Korea's Ssangyong Motor. But the Australian firm entered bankruptcy proceedings last month as the global industry downturn weighed on some of its clients, Geely said. Geely said the acquisition would strengthen its gearbox production line, adding that it would bring the Australian company's products and technology into China. Mainland carmakers are open to relatively small-scale buyouts but have refrained from acquiring large overseas brands, such as Volvo and Saab. This reluctance has come in part after SAIC Motor Corp invested US$500 million in Ssangyong only to watch it later declare bankruptcy. The central government has also advised carmakers to avoid a buying spree in the global market, because it believed asset valuations would decline further. Privately owned Geely denied earlier that it would acquire Swedish passenger car brand Volvo, which is owned by Ford Motor.