Volvo Cars has raised SEK5bn (£443.7m) from selling shares to Swedish institutional investors, as it gears up towards a potential initial public offering (IPO).

This follows the carmaker’s €500m (£423.6m) bond to international investors in May 2016 and SEK3bn to Swedish investors in November.

Volvo stated that it sought to increase financial flexibility, and that the offering was another step towards a “long-expressed ambition to act as a listed company.”

Volvo has also partnered with automotive safety company Autoliv to create Zenuity, a joint venture to develop software for autonomous driving.

Following a letter of intent in September 2016, Autoliv will invest SEK1.1bn into the joint venture, the majority an initial cash contribution. It will be led by Dennis Nobelius, who will serve as chief executive officer.

Adding Skype

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By GlobalData

Volvo has also partnered with technology giant Microsoft to enable Skype for Business on its 90 Series cars.

Skype for Business will enable mobile conference calls, and as part of the  partnership Volvo will explore possible uses of Cortana, the Microsoft virtual assistant.

Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, vice president consumer connectivity services at Volvo Car Group, said: “Skype for Business represents another big step forward for our in-car connectivity and communication offer.”