Haier Offers $702.7 Million for Fisher & Paykel

Haier offered NZ$1.20 a share for the 80% of the appliance maker that it didn’t already own, Fisher & Paykel said after the close of New Zealand trading Tuesday. The New Zealand company said Monday that Haier was considering a takeover.

Haier’s offer is a 15% premium to Fisher & Paykel’s Tuesday closing price and a 60% premium to Friday’s close. Fisher & Paykel’s shares rose 7.2% Tuesday to close at NZ$1.04.

The bid is subject to Haier gaining control of more than 50% of Fisher & Paykel and to approval by the New Zealand government as a foreign investment.

Haier has an agreement with Allan Gray Australia Pty. Ltd. that essentially gives the Chinese control of the fund manager’s 17.46% stake. That means Haier already effectively controls 37.46% of Fisher & Paykel.

Fisher & Paykel said its board supports the offer, pending a report by an independent adviser and in the absence of a superior bid.

Liang Haishan, a director of Haier’s New Zealand branch, said the Chinese company respected Fisher & Paykel’s history, achievements and management and plans to keep the brand as well the company’s development base in New Zealand.

Haier bought its 20% stake in Fisher & Paykel three years ago for about NZ$80 million, or roughly US$65 million. The Chinese company got access to Fisher & Paykel’s marketing and research and development, and the right to sell the New Zealand company’s products in China. Fisher & Paykel has the right to sell Haier appliances in New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

Fisher & Paykel reported revenue of NZ$891 million (US$720.5 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31. Haier posted US$23.3 billion in revenue for last year.

But the New Zealand company, which employs about 3,400 people world-wide, has developed useful technologies and holds valuable patents, including one for a dishwasher that features two drawers rather than the usual single pull-down door.

The Auckland-based appliance maker’s shares have been hammered in recent years as the strong New Zealand dollar and weak economy have reduced earnings and forced the company to suspend dividend payments.

Haier began as a refrigerator maker in 1984. The Qingdao-based company was one of China’s first companies to move overseas, introducing its brand in Europe, Japan and the U.S. in the 1990s, and has been moving to build its business abroad. Haier, which has 80,000 employees and distribution in more than 100 countries, last year acquired the washing-machine and consumer-refrigerator business of Japan’s Sanyo Electric Co.

Beijing has been encouraging the global expansion of its companies in an effort to soften the country’s image overseas and transform China’s economy into high-technology, knowledge-based science and manufacturing.

Chinese bulldozer maker Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group in August agreed to acquire a minority stake in forklift maker Kion Group GmbH for 738 million euros , marking the largest transaction by a Chinese company in Germany. Also last month, Chinese auto-parts company Wanxiang Group Corp. agreed to invest US$450 million for control of U.S. battery maker A123 Systems Inc. AONE China’s Dalian Wanda Group Corp. in May agreed to buy U.S. movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. for US$2.6 billion.


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