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Business

Japan's Lixil to take over Germany's Grohe in mega deal

Japan's housing and building materials firm Lixil has finalized a plan to take over Germany's Grohe company, Europe's largest maker of sanitary fittings. The deal marks the biggest Japanese investment yet in Germany.

Grohe confirmed the planned takeover Thursday, saying it had entered into an agreement with Lixil and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) with regard to the sale of an 87.5-percent equity interest.

The German firm added the deal represented the largest ever investment in Germany by a Japanese company, with the transaction value put at 3.06 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

Grohe currently employs 9,000 people worldwide, 2,300 of them in Germany itself.

Together with Lixil, the group will have an estimated annual turnover of over four billion euros, making it the world's largest company in the sector for bathroom and kitchen fittings.

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The German company said its current owners, US investment fund TPG and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (part of Swiss lender Credit Suisse), had agreed to sell their stakes. It noted the deal was subject to regulatory and antitrust approvals and was expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

TPG and Credit Suisse bought the ailing Grohe group for 1.5 billion euros back in 2004 and have since been involved in an endeavor to restructure and streamline the company.

With the takeover deal almost in the bag, earlier plans for Grohe to go public should now be off the table, analysts argued.

The IPO scheme had been floated by Grohe's owners with a view of putting pressure on Lixil and making it raise its Lixil's takeover offer.

hg/rg, ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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