Chinese target Kuka would assess any European bid: report

German industrial robot maker Kuka (KU2G.DE) would assess a possible European takeover bid but it is wrong to assume such an offer would take priority over the bid by China’s Midea Group Co Ltd’s (000333.SZ), Chief Executive Till Reuter told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Kuka is the latest and biggest German industrial technology group to be targeted by a Chinese buyer as the world’s second-largest economy makes the transition from a low-cost manufacturer into a high-tech industrial hub.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is trying to coordinate an alternative offer for Kuka, with government sources expressing concerns about losing German technology to China.

“Should new options arise because of politicians’ efforts, then we will assess those the same way without prejudice as we are assessing the offer by Midea,” Reuter said in an interview published on Sunday.

He said Kuka has been in contact with federal and regional governments since before home appliance maker Midea’s 4.5 billion-euro ($5.12 billion) bid became public last month.

Asked whether a European counter offer would take priority should it come together, Reuter said: “This cannot be said in such a hard and fast way.”

The CEO said Midea has already made “several concessions” to Kuka’s management by pledging to keep jobs and R&D capacities in Germany, adding it may take several weeks for the Chinese bidder’s final offer to arrive.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Alison Williams)

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