June 13, 2016 / 5:07 PM / 2 years ago

China's Midea seeking 49 percent Kuka stake: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - China’s Midea Group Co Ltd (000333.SZ) is only seeking a 49 percent stake in German industrial robot maker Kuka (KU2G.DE), Handelsblatt reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources in the German government.

A robot arm of German industrial robot maker Kuka is pictured at the company's stand during the Hannover Fair in Hanover, Germany, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Augsburg-based Kuka is the target of a takeover bid by the Chinese home appliance maker, which has fanned a furious debate over Chinese acquisitions in Europe, with some German politicians calling for tougher restrictions.

“Midea has clearly stated that its intentions are to have a meaningful stake in KUKA above 30 percent,” a company spokesman said. “The ultimate level of our shareholding will depend on the level of KUKA shareholders that tender into the offer.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Beijing on Monday there was a general openness towards investments from China, but it was expected that the country opened up and offered the same investment conditions.

Instead of being majority-owned by Midea, Kuka would continue to have a strong German anchor shareholder, Handelsblatt reported, adding that Kuka Chief Executive Till Reuter would support such a solution.

Germany’s Economy Ministry declined comment, while Kuka did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Olaf Brenner, Ralf Bode and Alexander Huebner.; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Alexander Smith

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