Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Fisher & Paykel supports Haier takeover proposal

AFP, WELLINGTON

New Zealand whitegoods manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Appliances (FPA) yesterday recommended shareholders accept a NZ$927 million (US$762 million) takeover bid from Chinese appliance giant Haier (海爾).

The move came after Haier lifted its offer for the upmarket appliance maker to NZ$1.28 a share, up from an opening bid of NZ$1.20 a share made on Oct. 4, which was rejected by the FPA board.

“Following this increased offer price, the independent directors of FPA are now unanimously recommending that shareholders accept the increased offer from Haier,” FPA said in a statement.

The planned takeover is seen as part of Haier’s strategy to expand its reach with higher-end products, upgrading China’s reputation for churning out mostly cheap, low-quality goods. The move will likely give Haier more access to markets where FPA has a strong presence, including New Zealand, Australia and the US.

FPA said that Haier, which had an existing 20 percent stake in the New Zealand company, had already received acceptances from major shareholders at NZ$1.28 a share which would give it a majority shareholding.

Haier had first invested in FPA in 2009 during the global financial crisis. Fisher & Paykel had gotten itself into financial difficulties due to its large debts and a plunge in sales.

FPA shares rose 2.83 percent to NZ$1.27 shortly after the announcement.

The takeover bid will not be finalized until Haier receives regulatory approval and completes all the share sales.

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