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Business

China eyes big investments in German firms

China has set its sights on securing more shares in German companies. Investors from the Asian giant have voiced their interest in an engineering company and a forklift manufacturer. Talks are underway.

Chinese state-run companies are aiming to obtain more shares in a number of German companies, the Handelsblatt business daily reported on Friday.

It said China's Shandong Heavy Industry building conglomerate appeared interested in acquiring a 25-percent share in Kion, a German producer of forklifts. With annual revenues of 4.4 billion euros ($5.51 billion), Kion is the world's number two in the sector.

According to the report, China is willing to invest 700 million euros in Kion to make it profitable again. The company which has a workforce of 22,000 globally, registered 93 million euros in net losses in 2011 due to high maintenance costs and large-scale debt servicing obligations.

Growing investor appetite

The Handelsblatt said Chinese investment in Kion would not impact plans to make the firm a market-listed company. The German forklift producer is currently owned by KKR and Goldman Sachs. Both owners signaled their reluctance to increase their investments in the firm.

The daily also reported that China's Shenyang Machine Tool giant was aiming to invest 500 million euros in Germany's engineering company MAG.

China's investments in firms abroad rose by 50 percent in the first half of the year.

Earlier in 2012, Chinese investors took over a German specialist in industrial pumps, Putzmeister. The Sany Group acquired the firm for 360 million euros.

hg/ jm (AFP, dpa)