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China Daily Website

Haier pledges to maintain 'unique' NZ appliance firm

Updated: 2012-11-28 16:42
( Xinhua)

WELLINGTON - Chinese appliance giant Haier pledged Wednesday to keep New Zealand's iconic Fisher & Paykel Appliances as a New Zealand company after taking over and delisting the firm on the New Zealand stock exchange.

Chairman of Haier New Zealand Investment Holding Co Ltd and president of Haier White Goods Group, Liang Haishan, said Haier recognized Fisher & Paykel Appliances was "a unique Kiwi company."

"We think a key part of Fisher & Paykel Appliances' success is driven by the culture of the company -- things like inventiveness and willingness to take on the world despite its size," Liang said in a statement.

"There is also a family spirit about the company. These things reflect New Zealand values and we want to retain them."

Haier was very firm in its intentions to support the existing business strategy of Fisher & Paykel Appliances, to retain its chief executive and head office in New Zealand, and to retain the current ratio of New Zealand and Australian independent directors on the board for at least the next two years, he said.

Haier would only change those intentions after consultation with the Fisher & Paykel Appliances board, said Liang.

"We see these as clear signals of our intentions to grow Fisher& Paykel Appliances as a New Zealand company on the world stage with the backing of Haier. We are very excited by the prospect."

Fisher & Paykel Appliance Holdings stopped trading of its shares on Nov 22 and was delisted on Tuesday.

Haier New Zealand Investment Co Ltd issued a compulsory acquisition notice to all outstanding Fisher & Paykel Appliances shareholders on November 15 after announcing earlier this month that it had secured 90 percent of the shares.

New Zealand's main opposition Labour Party earlier this month voiced concerns that high-paying and highly-skilled research and technology jobs would be lost abroad with the takeover.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings, the parent company of Fisher & Paykel Appliances and Fisher and Paykel Finance, employs more than 3,300 staff worldwide.

Established in New Zealand in 1934 and first listed in 1979, the company has manufacturing plants in New Zealand, Italy, Thailand and Mexico.

Last month, New Zealand foreign investment regulators approved Haier's proposed takeover, clearing the final regulatory hurdle to be cleared for the transaction to proceed.

Haier first offered NZ$1.20 (99 US cents) a share in September, but that was raised to NZ$1.28 last month, with Haier claiming the new offer price represented a 71-percent premium to the pre-offer share price.

Based in Qingdao, Shandong province, Haier acquired 20 percent of Fisher and Paykel Appliances in 2009, establishing cooperation agreements in research and development, sourcing, manufacturing and marketing.