China Haier says no plan to buy GE appliance unit

August 13, 2008 5:51:26 AM PDT
China's Qingdao Haier Group Corp. on Wednesday issued a statement denying reports it might ally with private equity firm Blackstone Group LP to buy General Electric's appliance unit.The Sunday Telegraph of Britain and other reports, citing unnamed executives, had said Haier and Blackstone planned to buy the GE unit for $7 billion.

"This company has not participated in any such acquisition," Haier said in a clarification statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It added that it only discloses such information through official Chinese financial newspapers such as the Shanghai Securities News.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE has announced it wants to spin off its lighting and appliance businesses as it restructures to focus on faster growth businesses.

Haier, which has a partnership in some areas with the financial and industrial conglomerate, made an unsuccessful bid for appliance maker Maytag in 2005. The Chinese refrigerator and air conditioner maker, based in the eastern port city of Qingdao, has been seeking to expand its reach into international markets.

Haier's shares were down 2.3 percent at 8.67 yuan by midafternoon Wednesday in Shanghai.