19 Oct 2012

Fisher and Paykel investors consider Haier offer

7:17 pm on 19 October 2012

Haier's increased bid for Fisher & Paykel Appliances has won it at least a 50% stake of the company, but all may not be lost for investors holding out for a higher offer.

The Chinese whiteware company on Thursday boosted its bid by 8 cents a share to $1.28 per share, valuing the firm at $927 million and locking in another three institutional investors.

Accident Compensation Corporation, AMP Capital Investors and Harbour Asset Management - which combined hold 14% of the company - all say they will accept Haier's increased offer.

Haier had already secured the support of Australian fund manager Allan Gray which holds 17.5% of the appliance firm.

AMP deputy head of equities John Phipps says the $1.28 offer is a fair price, though he declined to give AMP's own valuation of the company.

Haier's new price is at the bottom of the value range of $1.28 to $1.57 per share assessed by an independent appraisal.

After recommending shareholders reject Haier's initial offer, Fisher & Paykel Appliances' independent directors are now recommending they accept the revised price.

"It puts it into the range of what we consider fair value ... also it puts it within the value range provided by the independent adviser within their report," director Bill Roest says.

"A third point that's important is that three more institutional shareholders have indicated that they will accept the increased offer".

Not all investors are convinced, however. Milford Asset Management, which has about a 2.5% stake in Fisher & Paykel Appliances, says it was looking at a price of about $1.35 a share or higher.

Executive director Brian Gaynor says the acceptance of the price by four institutions doesn't scupper other investors from getting a higher price.

He says it all comes down to how much Haier wants total control, because it needs 90% acceptance before it can compulsorily acquire the remaining shares.

Tower Investment's holds a 3.7% stake of Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

Tower chief executive Sam Stubbs says his company is waiting to get more information before it sells.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Shareholders Association says it will not facilitate a meeting for retail investors which it had been considering.

The Association says the increased offer, and support of Fisher & Paykel Appliance's independent directors and some institutional investors, means the takeover is bound to succeed.

Shares in the company were flat on Friday, closing unchanged at $1.265 cents each.