Midea bids for con­trol of Ger­man ro­bot-maker Kuka with $5.16b

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

FOSHAN—Midea Group, China’s big­gest maker of home ap­pli­ances based in Foshan, Guang­dong province, re­cently launched a vol­un­tary pub­lic ten­der of­fer for all shares above its cur­rent 13.5 per­cent stake in Kuka AG, a global tech­nol­ogy leader in robotics and au­toma­tion. The of­fer of 4.6 bil­lion eu­ros ($5.16 bil­lion) con­firmed Midea’s pre­vi­ously stated in­ten­tion to in­crease its stake in Kuka to be­come the big­gest share­holder of the Ger­man com­pany, ahead of Voith GmbH, a maker of in­dus­trial equip­ment. The of­fer is con­tin­gent on an ac­cep­tance rate of at least 30 per­cent of the out­stand­ing shares.

“We want to sup­port Kuka’s growth and plan to jointly re­al­ize the vast growth po­ten­tial in China, with an aim of in­creas­ing our cur­rent share­hold­ing to ex­pand the part­ner­ship,” said Paul Fang, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Midea. Ac­cord­ing to Midea, the Ger­man Fed­eral Fi­nan­cial Su­per­vi­sory Author­ity ap­proved the pub­li­ca­tion of the of­fer doc­u­ment on Wed­nes­day and the share­hold­ers’ gen­eral meet­ing of the Chi­nese com­pany al­ready ap­proved the trans­ac­tion plan on June 6. The pub­li­ca­tion of the of­fer doc­u­ment marked the be­gin­ning of the ac­cep­tance pe­riod of the ten­der of­fer, which ends on July 15, ac­cord­ing to Midea.

“Cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy from Ger­many and Midea’s long-term ex­pe­ri­ence and net­work in the Chi­nese mar­ket will al­low us to ben­e­fit from the growth op­por­tu­ni­ties across dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries in China,” said Fang. One of key strate­gic fo­cus ar­eas of Kuka is the broader robotics mar­ket in China, an area in which Midea also sees sus­tain­able growth op­por­tu­ni­ties, ac­cord­ing to Fang. Ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­trial re­port writ­ten and re­leased by Midea, China con­tin­u­ously seeks ways to au­to­mate its fac­to­ries as ris­ing la­bor costs re­duce the coun­try’s cost ad­van­tage, prompt­ing the need to in­crease fac­tory au­toma­tion. How­ever, ro­bot pen­e­tra­tion in gen­eral in­dus­tries cur­rently re­mains ex­tremely low at about 17 units per 10,000 work­ers in China, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.—Agen­cies

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