A Kuka robotic arm installs a dashboard on a Daimler AG MercedesBenz SClass at the companyrsquos plant in Sindelfingen Thomas Niedermueller, Getty Images

A Kuka robotic arm installs a dashboard on a Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz S-Class at the company’s plant in Sindelfingen.

Midea Snags Close to 86% Stake in Kuka Robotics

The Chinese appliance giant acquired another 72% of the German robotics firm — a controversial decision in Europe — and now owns more than six-sevenths of the company.

SHANGHAI — Chinese appliance giant Midea announced Wednesday that it has secured almost 86% of German industrial robotics supplier Kuka, giving it overwhelming control despite controversy in Europe over its multi-billion-euro offer.

Midea offered 115 euros ($126.42) per share for Kuka in June, valuing the firm — one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial robots — at 4.6 billion euros ($5.06 billion). By Friday the offer had been accepted for 72.18% of Kuka stock, according to a statement posted by Midea on its website.

Midea already held a 13.51% stake in Kuka, giving it a total of 85.69%, it said.

Midea, best known for selling washing machines and air conditioners, caused a stir with its play for the high-profile technology firm. The Kuka deal has raised concerns in Europe about the transfer of advanced technology to China. European media reported that officials in Brussels and Berlin oppose a Chinese takeover of the firm — allegations denied by Germany.

The powerful IG Metall trade union has also sought to find different buyers for Kuka shares, pushing for a 25.1% stake previously owned by technology company Voith to remain in German hands. But no competing buyer came forward.

Beijing has urged Chinese companies to “go out” and invest in foreign targets to secure technology and new markets, especially as economic growth slows at home.

Midea shares closed down 0.55% on China’s Shenzhen stock exchange on Wednesday.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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