F&P appoints independent adviser

Takeover-threatened Fisher & Paykel Appliances has appointed its independent adviser to consider Haier's offer.

UPDATE 1.50pm: Fisher & Paykel Appliances has appointed Grant Samuel as its independent adviser on the proposed Haier takeover.

In an announcement to the stock exchange (NZX: FPA) this afternoon, the company says his appointment has been approved by the Takeovers Panel.

The NZX statement says: "FPA, in conjunction with its advisers, will proceed to prepare the target company statement required by the Takeovers Code, and will circulate that document, together with the independent adviser’s report, to shareholders within 14 days after the date that Haier sends its offer document to shareholders.

"The independent board recommends that shareholders of FPA take no action until the full details of the independent board’s assessment of the offer, including the directors’ recommendation together with the independent adviser’s report, has been provided to shareholders."

F&P shares were up one cent at 3pm today to $1.175, on trade of more than 9.6 million shares.


10am: Fisher & Paykel Appliances chairman Dr Keith Turner says the company has had "credible" approaches since Haier's takeover intentions were announced on Monday.

Despite reports German industrial giant Bosch is considering blocking Haier's takeover bid, he won't name the companies involved.

"Those inquiries are early days and entirely natural under the circumstances. Where they might lead to and what we might make of them is impossible to tell.

"I don't want to disclose who might have approached us. We've had a range of different inquiries.

"All of the inquiries we've had so far have been from credible parties."

Bosch New Zealand would not comment. 

Dr Turner says the approaches have included companies interested in buying F&P divisions but also buying into the company. 

An independent report in response to Haier's formal offer – which is yet to be made – will primarily focus on F&P's value, he says.

"It will be up to the board to judge the value being offered by Haier compared to the value advised by the independent expert, compared to anything else that might emerge from the woodwork.

"Valuation of the whole company is quite different from valuation of the parts."

Dr Turner says yesterday's turnover of F&P shares "very modest" after a takeover bid.

F&P shares (NZX: FPA) have jumped 55% this week since Haier's intentions were stated on Monday morning and it named its $1.20 offer price on Tuesday night.

They are sitting at $1.165 before trading this morning, the highest price since October 2008.

Already, Haier has applied for government approval for the proposed takeover.

ACC, the third-biggest shareholder after Australian fund manager Allan Gray – which has agreed to sell its 17.46% stake to Haier – says it will wait for F&P's independent report to decide whether it will sell is shares.  

Haier director Liang Haishan said yesterday there would be no redundancies or factory closures as a direct result of its offer. However, it reserved the right to change its mind, after consulting the board.

Haier's takeover document reveals it is considering selling F&P's finance division.

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