CHINESE appliance giant Midea has secured majority control in German industrial robotics supplier Kuka, it said yesterday.
Midea — best known for selling washing machines and air conditioners — offered 115 euros (US$127) per share for Kuka, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial robots, in June.
It valued Kuka at 4.6 billion euros and was a near 60 percent premium to Kuka’s closing price before Midea announced it was increasing its stake in the German firm in February.
As of Wednesday, the offer had been accepted by holders of 43.74 percent of Kuka’s shares, the Chinese company said in a statement on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where it is listed.
Adding the shares it already owns, it said it had “approximately 57.25 percent of the issued share capital and the existing voting rights of Kuka.”
Following public and official concerns in Germany that the takeover might lead to losses of technology and local jobs, Midea and Kuka unveiled an investor deal which includes a commitment to keep its existing headquarters, factories and jobs earlier this week.
China has pushed its companies to “go out” and invest in foreign targets to increase their technological capabilities and seek new markets as economic growth slows at home.
There is huge demand for robotics in China, where officials are trying to raise manufacturers’ productivity. Since 2013, China has bought more industrial robots each year than any other country, and it is expected to be the world’s biggest operator of industrial robots in 2018. Many Chinese robotics companies have tried to raise their competitiveness through overseas mergers and acquisitions.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for foreign objectivity on overseas M&As by Chinese companies and “a reasonable and transparent business environment for them.”
“Such normal business behavior should be granted fair treatment,” said Hong Lei.