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Haier to buy up 20% of FPA

HAIER Group Corporation will take a 20 percent stake in Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd to become its biggest shareholder.

Haier has also signed an agreement to become the exclusive distributor of home appliances made by Fisher & Paykel in the Chinese market. FPA will exclusively sell Haier's products in Australia and New Zealand under the agreement, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Haier will pay up to NZ$58 million (US$36 million) for the stake.

The agreement will enable both companies to share market resources and manufacturing and design services in Europe, North America and other markets. Two nominees from Haier will be appointed to FPA's board.

The New Zealand home appliance maker will raise NZ$189 million through the issue of new shares. It is aiming to reduce debt by NZ$190 million this year with the share offer plus sales of factory sites in New Zealand and Australia and by reducing inventory.

The company reported a net loss of NZ$59 million in the year ended March 31, 2009, compared to a net profit of NZ$41 million a year earlier.


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