US firm expands China reach


HONG KONG: US investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has agreed to buy a 10-percent share in China’s biggest appliance maker Qingdao Haier, in its biggest investment in the country.

KKR will pay about $556 million for the stake, which the two companies say will establish a long-term strategic partnership.

“We look forward to . . . assist Qingdao Haier in its next phase of growth by capitalizing on the opportunities created by China’s continued urbanization and increasing consumer income trend,” chief executive of KKR Greater China David Liu said in the same statement. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

The US firm announced last week that it would spend $1.7 billion on an 80-percent stake in Panasonic’s health-care unit, its biggest deal in Japan. KKR, jointly with TPG Capital, made a $990-million investment into China International Capital Corp. in 2010.

Haier Group, Qingdao Haier’s parent, manufactures home appliances including air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators and cookers and held a 27.2-percent share of the Chinese market in 2012. The Chinese firm successfully took over New Zealand whitegoods manufacturer Fisher and Paykel Appliances in October last year for $762 million.



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