China’s Midea moves step closer to ac­quir­ing Ger­man ro­bot­ics firm

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

CHI­NESE ap­pli­ances gi­ant Midea moved a step closer to ful­fill­ing its am­bi­tion to ac­quire Ger­man in­dus­trial ro­bot­ics firm Kuka with a deal rais­ing its stake to more than 35 per­cent.

Kuka’s big­gest Ger­man share­holder, tech­nol­ogy com­pany Voith, said on July 3 that it had de­cided to take up Midea’s of­fer of 115 euros (US$128) per share and sell its 25.1pc stake to the Chi­nese group, Ger­man news agency DPA re­ported.

Midea has al­ready amassed a stake of 13.5pc in Kuka and in mid-May launched a cash of­fer valu­ing the com­pany at more than 4 bil­lion euros.

Ini­tially, Midea’s of­fer will run July 15, but Kuka’s man­age­ment is rec­om­mend­ing share­hold­ers ac­cept it and has signed a long-term in­vestor con­tract with the Chi­nese firm un­til 2023. Nev­er­the­less, crit­ics are wor­ried about Ger­man know-how and tech­nol­ogy be­ing sold into Chi­nese hands.

A grow­ing list of Ger­man com­pa­nies, such as Kion, Putzmeis­ter and KraussMaf­fei, have come un­der Chi­nese own­er­ship in re­cent years.

Kuka, based in the Ger­man city of Augs­burg, de­scribes it­self as one of the world’s lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers of in­dus­trial ro­bots and also of­fers au­to­mated sys­tems for man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The pow­er­ful IG Me­tall trade union had pushed for the Voith stake to re­main in Ger­man hands – but no com­pet­ing buyer came for­ward.

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