China's Haier Group was poised to take complete control of Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd after it acquired more than 90 percent of New Zealand's top white-goods maker, the companies said on Tuesday.
Having snapped up 92.8 percent of F&P Appliances, Haier will buy out the remaining minority shareholders to complete the NZ$927 million ($766 million) takeover. Once it acquires the shares, one of New Zealand's most recognised brands will be delisted from the domestic stock exchange.
Haier is paying NZ$1.28 a share for F&P Appliances, having sweeted its initial offer of NZ$1.20 last month.
The move marks the second major takeover in as many years for the parent of Qindao Haier Co Ltd, China's No. 2 appliance maker by sales, as it is looks overseas for new revenue sources in the face of sluggish demand and increased competition at home.
Last year, Haier bought Panasonic Corp's Sanyo Electric washing machine and refrigerator units in Japan and Southeast Asia for $130 million.
The latest acquisition will give the Chinese company the development expertise behind F&P Appliances' multi temperature refrigerators and double-drawer dishwashers. Some analysts said it would take time for the takeover to bear fruit for Haier, given the limited size of F&P Appliances' sales networks. Roughly 75 percent of its production is sold in Australia and New Zealand.
From the listed companies' point of view, even though they can sell their products (in New Zealand) through Fisher's sales network, Fisher's market may not represent a big market for the listed subsidiaries, said Steve Chow, analyst at Kingsway Research in Hong Kong.
But he said F&P Appliances could benefit from access to the Chinese market, where demand for white goods is seen growing in the longer term. The mainland market may represent a huge one for Fisher, he said.
Shares of Qingdao Haier edged down 0.4 percent in Shanghai, while Hong Kong-listed unit Haier Electronics Group Co Ltd fell nearly 2 percent. F&P Appliances shares were unchanged at NZ$1.275.
Haier has said it would keep F&P Appliances' corporate headquarters in New Zealand, while maintaining its New Zealand, Australian and U.S. brands and businesses and its New Zealand machinery operations.
Analysts said Haier's pledge to keep F&P Appliances' product development operations in New Zealand was key to maintaining its newly acquired design and technological edge.
The key reason that Haier is buying is the technical know-how that F&P has, said