Groupe Seb moves in on Chinese appliance market

By Matthew Henry

CHINA: Groupe Seb has been given the green light by China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to buy a 30 per cent stake in Supor, one of China’s leading domestic cookware and small appliances brands, at a cost of nearly $AU70 million.

Following a meeting held yesterday with the CSRC, Groupe Seb was cleared to proceed with the deal which will see the company acquire a block of almost 25 million shares in Supor from the Su family at 18 RMB per share (approximately $AU2.77 each).

This latest approval is the second step in a three-stage process which the French appliance maker hopes will see it gain a majority interest in Supor.

Groupe Seb is determined to increase its ownership to 51 per cent later in the year, pending CSRC approval, the company said today.

“This acquisition represents a commitment towards strong growth and continued investment into the future global development of Groupe SEB," said Wivina Chaneliere, managing director Groupe SEB Australia & New Zealand.

"Supor will be important to further reinforce our expansion across the business and create strong synergies and efficiencies throughout our global markets. In addition, it will help to support the growth of the Australian and New Zealand markets through competitively priced products and greater speed to market."

The next phase of the deal will see Groupe Seb apply to purchase a further 40 million shares at the same price – a deal worth in excess of $AU110 million.

According to a press release issued by Group Seb, Supor is number one in cookware and number four in small appliances in the Chinese market. Sales for the appliance maker grew 42 per cent in 2005 to 2006, reaching €207 million ($AU330 million).

Operating in more than 120 countries around the world, including Australia, and employing over 13,800 employees, Groupe Seb’s swag of brands already includes All-Clad, Arno, Calor, Krups, Lagostina, Mirro, Moulinex, Panex, Rowenta, Samurai, Seb, Tefal and WearEver.

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