Kuka backs bid byMidea

Chi­nese in­vestor to help ex­pand its busi­ness on main­land

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By QI­UQUAN­LIN in Guangzhou qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Midea Group Co, China’s big­gest home ap­pli­ance maker, has signed a deal to make it the big­gest share­holder in Ger­man in­dus­trial ro­bot­ics group Kuka AG, the Chi­nese com­pany an­nounced on Wed­nes­day.

Both par­ties agreed to Midea’s 115 euros ($127) a share bid which val­ued the Ger­man group at about 4.6 bil­lion euros, ac­cord­ing the state­ment.

The in­vest­ment agree­ment out­lined Midea’s com­mit­ments to Kuka, fol­low­ing the launch of the vol­un­tary pub­lic ten­der of­fer for all shares of Kuka, based in Augs­burg, Ger­many, which was for­mally an­nounced mid-June.

Kuka is in con­fi­den­tial talks about po­ten­tial new in­vestors but has so far only re­ceived a takeover of­fer from Midea, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Till Reuter said onWed­nes­day.

The in­vest­ment will make Midea be­come the big­gest share­holder of the Ger­man com­pany, ahead of Voith GmbH, a maker of in­dus­trial equip­ment, if there is an ac­cep­tance rate of at least 30 per­cent of the shares of Kuka.

Midea Chair­man Paul Fang said the in­vest­ment would create long-term val­ues for both com­pa­nies.

“A broadly diver­si­fied share­holder base is wel­comed, aswe be­lieve that the con­tin­ued com­mit­ment of all share­hold­ers la­bor and pro­duc­tion costs.

In ad­di­tion to its mar­ket share of 35 per­cent in North Amer­ica and 46 per­cent in Europe, Kuka cur­rently has a 19 per­cent mar­ket share in Asia and other re­gions, ac­cord­ing to sources fa­mil­iar with Midea. By 2020, Kuka said it plans sales of 1 bil­lion euros in China.

On Tues­day, sources re­ported that Kuka was on the brink of agree­ing the Midea of­fer, if it re­ceived as­sur­ances for a long-term com­mit­ment to its ex­ist­ing head­quar­ters, fac­to­ries and jobs.

The state­ment on Wed­nes­day said that by sign­ing the agree­ment, Midea was show­ing its full com­mit­ment on Kuka’s sites and work­force and had ex­pressly un­der­taken not to cause any change to the cur­rent global work­force, or ef­fect site clo­sures or re­lo­ca­tion.

BLOOMBERG

A Kuka in­dus­trial ro­botic arm pours a glass of beer dur­ing a dis­play on the Kuka AG ex­hi­bi­tion stand dur­ing the Au­to­mat­ica trade fair in Mu­nich, Ger­many, on June 21.

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