5 Oct 2012

Haier may have to increase offer for F and P

4:23 pm on 5 October 2012

It is looking increasingly likely that Haier will have to increase its offer for Fisher & Paykel Appliances if it wants to get majority shareholding in the New Zealand company.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances' independent directors have advised shareholders not to accept the offer of $1.20 per share from the Chinese whiteware firm, saying it does not reflect market value.

An independent adviser has put the value of Fisher & Paykel Appliances between $1.28 and $1.57 per share.

On Thursday, shares were 4.5 cents highe and closed at $1.25, which some say is a clear indication Haier will have to increase its bid.

Independent directors of Fisher & Paykel Appliances say the outside valuation of the company is in line with what they believe the firm is worth.

They say the company is in profit now and at a relatively early stage of implementing the company's rebuild strategy.

One of the four independent directors, Bill Roest, says there is increasing confidence in the market about where the company is going and the value of it.

He says there is a lot of value in the component and technology part of the business and its global manufacturing strategy.

Mr Roest concedes there is risk involved, given it is a five-year strategic plan, but says the valuation range reflects that.

But Haier does not agree, saying Fisher & Paykel Appliances' independent adviser's valuation range is overly optimistic.

Haier says shareholders now need to decide between the certainty of its offer, or taking what it calls a significant risk on Fisher & Paykel Appliances achieving its long-term goals.

Risk factor

Forsyth Barr head of institutional brokering David Price says its post-offer valuation price for the stock is $1.31 each.

He says the stock price was 36 cents in December last year and since then the team has done a great job in turning the business around.

But Mr Price says with a five-year plan there is still execution risk which is acknowledged in the Haier bid.

Haier says if the offer is unsuccessful, it is likely the share price will decline significantly, as the recent increase to Fisher & Paykel Appliances' shares reflects Haier's offer.

Mr Price expects the value will fall back if this is the case and the odds of Haier walking away are smaller than the odds of them increasing the bid.

He says the fact that shares are trading higher than $1.20 is a clear sign people are speculating Haier will have to up its bid.

Tower Investments, which holds a 3.7% stake, agrees. Chief executive Sam Stubbs says the independent valuation of Fisher & Paykel Appliances sits very close to Tower's.

He says what is being looked at now is what the company is worth to someone who wants to control it.

Mr Stubbs says the market now recognises the true value of Fisher & Paykel Appliances' technology, manufacturing prowess and intellectual property.

Investors have until early November to decide whether to sell.