Fisher & Paykel Appliances on hiring spree after boosting R&D

Fisher & Paykel Appliances chairman Keith Turner

Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the home-appliance maker acquired by China's Haier in 2012, is seeking some 40 workers for research and development after opening a new design centre at its Auckland headquarters.

The company spent about $5.5 million on the new Auckland facility with another $1.5 million still to be invested, and is spending some $2.5 million to fit out its Dunedin R&D facility. F&P Appliances has hired 80 engineers and designers in the past 18 months. It is now one of Haier's five global 'centres of excellent' for product development in the group.

Haier New Zealand Investment Holding, which holds 80 percent of F&P Appliances, invested $36.3 million on property, plant and equipment in the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2013, and $7.9 million between Aug. 29, 2012 to March 31, 2013, according financial statements lodged with the Companies Office. Its accounts show it had revenue of $777.1 million through the final nine months of 2013. Haier New Zealand incurred research and development expenses of $17.9 million in the 2013 period, and $7.2 million in the 2012 reporting period. The other 20 percent of F&P Appliances is held by another Haier unit.

The Chinese company effectively rescued F&P Appliances in 2009 when it acquired a 20 percent stake as part of a capital raising that let the company refinance its debt. The local manufacturer got distribution into China as a result of the deal and the ability to further licence its technology.

Chairman Keith Turner said Haier has allowed F&P Appliances to remain an 'independent' business within the group.

"They have been hugely supportive of the company and the brand. Very clearly the mandate has remained," said Turner, whose chairmanship dates back to the time when the company was listed on the NZX.


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