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October 26, 2016

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Home » Business » IT

Aixtron deal may still push ahead

THE Chinese company bidding for Aixtron may press ahead with its takeover of the chip equipment maker, despite the German government withdrawing its approval because of concerns over security.

Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP (FGC) was responding to Monday’s surprise news from Aixtron that Berlin had withdrawn its consent for the 670-million-euro (US$728 million) deal and planned a review of the transaction.

The government’s move comes amid growing protectionist rhetoric in Germany and just a week before Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is due to lead a business delegation to China.

“The Economy Ministry’s letter does not in and of itself lead to a termination of the takeover offer,” FGC, a Chinese investment fund controlled by businessman Zhendong Liu, said in a statement yesterday, adding that it was looking at the legal implications.

FGC said that the ministry had cited technology that was relevant to security, especially to the defense sector, being revealed by a takeover of Aixtron as the reason for the review. FGC did not provide further details.

Aixtron makes machines used in the production of red, blue, green and white light emitting diodes as well as chips for memory, power management and nanotechnology. Its products are not directly designed for the defense sector.

However, there is rising concern in Germany over whether the government should do more to protect strategic technologies.

“The German government clearly has a motive here,” said David Vos, capital goods analyst at Barclays.

FGC is partly state-backed, but Liu, who owns 51 percent of the company, told Spiegel Online this month that the Chinese government played no role in his decision to invest in Aixtron.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it was encouraging the country’s companies to invest overseas.

“At the same time, we hope relevant countries can provide a fair environment and convenient conditions for investment by Chinese companies, which accords with both sides’ interests,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing.



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