The Hisense Group, a Chinese white goods manufacturer, will spend 680 million yuan (US$85 million) on a 26.43 percent stake in former industry leader the Guangdong Kelon Electrical Holdings.
The deal has been reached between Hisense and the Guangdong Greencool Enterprise Development Co., the flagship company of Kelon’s former chairman Gu Chujun that holds a controlling 26.4 percent stake, said a statement issued by Kelon on Monday.
Within seven working days after the agreement takes effect, Hisense, based in Qingdao, a port city in east China‘s Shandong Province, will remit a down payment of 500 million yuan (US$62.5 million) to a bank account designated by the Intermediate People‘s Court in Foshan, a manufacturing base in Guangdong Province.
Upon its receipt of the remittance, the court will freeze the account until the shares are transferred to Hisense, and Hisense will remit the remaining 180 million yuan (US$22.5 million) within another seven days, said the statement.
But a Kelon spokesman said the validity of Greencool’s agreement with Hisense and arrangement of the takeover are still subject to the approval of industry watchdogs including the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
Hisense earlier offered to acquire the stake with 900 million yuan (US$112 million) in cash, and later decided to reduce the price because auditing firms had found Kelon‘s assets to be much lower than that amount even with liabilities.
Kelon was once one of China’s most admired companies because of its smartly designed refrigerators but has been thrust into crisis since last year.
The CSRC started to investigate Kelon in May 2005, after a 60-million-yuan (US$7.5 million) deficit in its 2004 annual report caused widespread suspicion. Its former chairman Gu Chujun and six other senior executives were arrested in September.
Hisense has been acting as Kelon‘s exclusive sales agent in China since September.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2006)