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French SEB to buy majority stakes of China's Supor Cookware
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France's leading household appliance manufacturer Groupe SEB on Wednesday began the final process of purchasing a majority stake in Zhejiang Supor Cookware, a company source said.


According to a Groupe SEB announcement, the French company, which already holds a 30 percent stake in Supor, will buy a maximum 49,122,948 shares of the private cookware maker in east China's Zhejiang Province at 47 yuan (6.3 U.S. dollars) per share.


The deal allows the French company to take a total stake of 52.74 percent in its Chinese counterpart.


Thierry de la Tour D'Artaise, Groupe SEB president and CEO, said his company had confidence in Supor's development prospects in the long term. He believed the ongoing acquisition was an important strategic move for both sides. Based on such confidence, Groupe SEB raised its purchase price.


Previously the takeover price was 18 yuan per share. The increased price had a premium of 16.2 percent against the average price of Supor shares in 30 trading days before Nov. 15, and a premium of 17.6 percent against the closing price of Supor shares on the same day.


Su Xianze, Zhejiang Supor Inc. Ltd. chairman, expressed support for Groupe SEB's offer. "We are confident about the future of our cooperation with SEB."


It was reported that by Aug. 31, Groupe SEB had bought 30 percent of Supor's shares traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.


The deal aroused vociferous objections from Chinese cookware firms before the Ministry of Commerce, which had launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the project, approved the takeover in April.


It is believed the approval paved the way for foreign investors to take part in more purchases of non-strategic Chinese industries.


Supor manufactures such kitchenware as pressure cookers and woks, among others. Last year, it was reported the Hangzhou-based company was building two new factories, one in China and another in Vietnam.


(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2007)

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