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Image: picture alliance/dpa/D. Qing

Chinese investors take firm hold of Kuka

July 15, 2016

The Chinese investor has announced that most Kuka shareholders took it up on its takeover offer, with time for more to get on board. Kuka's CEO reiterated that the company will remain German in character.


Shenzen-based household appliance manufacturer Midea reported on Friday that it had gathered 76.4 percent of the shares for Augsburg-based robotics firm Kuka.

This number can still increase, as Midea's takeover offer to Kuka stockholders - 115 euros for shares that are trading just below 107 euros - lasts until the end of the day.

Rules also stipulate a two-week extension because Midea surpassed its stated minimum goal of 30 percent.

Midea had 13.5 percent of shares in May when it began its takeover bid. It has since bought an additional 25 million shares totaling 2.9 billion euros.

Still 'German'

Kuka is one of the world's leading manufacturers of advanced automation technology, and the specter of it becoming the biggest German firm to be bought out by Chinese investors set off expressions of concern that reached as high as the German cabinet.

Economy Minsiter Sigmar Gabriel tried to coordinate an alternate offer for Kuka by German and European investors.

Kuka CEO Till Reuter reiterated Thursday that, although the Chinese investor will hold a majority of the company, it will remain "German." He said that Midea is interested in keeping the company rooted in Bavaria, where it was founded in 1898 and is now based.

Reuter made the announcement at the opening of a $60 million technology center in Augsburg.

Kuka and Midea earlier reached an agreement that secures the independence of the company's leadership and all of its 12,300 jobs through 2023.

jtm/uh (dpa, Reuters)

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