By Patrick Avenell

Three years after purchasing a 20 per cent stake in iconic New Zealand appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel, the Chinese electronics company Haier has expressed interest in a full takeover.

Although no actual offer has been made, Fisher & Paykel today informed the Australian Securities Exchange that should Haier go through with its takeover plans, shareholders would be offered cash, including a premium, based on the company’s share price. Fisher & Paykel is currently trading at 58 cents.

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Before any offer is made, Haier will conduct “limited due diligence” on Fisher & Paykel, a process that F&P is assisting with. In its statement to ASX, Fisher & Paykel made it clear that this approach carries no guarantee of an actual offer.

“There can be no certainty that an offer for shares in Fisher & Paykel Appliances or any other transaction will result,” said the statement.

Before purchasing its cornerstone stake in Fisher & Paykel in 2009, Haier had made several plays at capturing share in the Australian market. Furthermore, the company claims to be China’s biggest appliance manufacturer and second biggest retailer has also been the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for many other brands on sale in Australia.

Over the last three years, the partnership between F&P and Haier has reaped rewards for both entities. Fisher & Paykel has successfully launched into the enormous Chinese market, while Haier has leveraged F&P existing networks to move into the Australian market.

Whereas Haier is considered a value-for-money brand in Australia, F&P is at the premium end in China, meaning the two brands do not compete directly.