German robot maker sees market boost in Chinese takeover bid

Leading German industrial robot maker Kuka said on Friday it believes the 5-billion-euro (5.6-billion dollars) takeover bid launched this month by Chinese home appliance group Midea could boost its chances in the Asian powerhouse economy.

Speaking at Kuka's annual general meeting, chief executive Till Reuter said that the company was still examining whether the Midea bid would support the company's strategy of more than doubling sales over the next 4 years to 1 billion euros in China, the world's largest robot market.

But Reuter told shareholders attending the group's meeting in the Bavarian city of Augsburg: "A partner who supports this strategy and gives us even better market access could be an advantage for Kuka."

China has been on shopping tour in Germany, in particular picking up companies in key industrial sectors as part of Beijing's efforts to acquire technological know-how and turn its products into global brands.

Shares in ailing German carbon products manufacturer SGL shot up more than 10 per cent following media reports that it was also on China's wish list.

The monthly business magazine Manager reported on Friday that the Chinese chemical group ChemChina had SGL in its sights as the pace of China's acquisitions in Europe's biggest economy gathered pace this month.

Chipmaker Aixtron is also at present considering a bid from China, while Shanghai Electric Group last week seized control of troubled engineering group Manz.

Midea has already built up a more-than 10-per-cent stake in Kuka and wants to eventually secure a minimum holding in the German robot maker of 30 per cent.

The Chinese company is offering 115 euros for each Kuka share – about a third more than the current value of Kuka’s shares.

Reuter told shareholders that Midea wanted to retain Kuka's headquarters in Augsburg as well as the current headcount of staff.

Last update: Fri, 27/05/2016 - 14:56

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