Haier to invest $1bn in Europe and IPO

The world’s biggest domestic appliance brand has outlined ambitious growth plans in Europe at a press conference at this year’s IFA technology trade show in Berlin (August 31 to September 5).

Haier said it will “disproportionately” accelerate growth in Europe by investing in 11 new areas on the continent, mainly in Eastern Europe and the Nordics and become a “premium leader” in the region.

The Chinese appliances giant said it would invest $1 billion (£769m) over four years to achieve this, and hopes to raise the money through an initial public offering on the China Europe International Exchange (CEINEX).

If successful, it will be the first Chinese company to sell so-called D-shares on the CEINEX, a joint venture between Deutsche Boerse and Shanghai Stock Exchange agreed in 2015.

Haier, which also owns New Zealand premium appliance brand Fisher and Paykel, said it planned to issue 400 million D-shares but the timing of the listing was not revealed.

The establishment of D-shares, supported by Beijing, was to enable Chinese companies to increase engagement with foreign investors and appear more transparent and trustworthy as a business partner for sceptical European companies.

Haier, which had a global market share of 14.2% in 2017 according to Euromonitor, said it planned to grow five times faster than the appliance market in Europe, where it currently has a 2.3% market share.

It said its growth strategy to become a “premium leader” in Europe would be a combination of organic growth, with a focus on the “premium price segment” and acquisitions.

The £769m raised from the IPO will be spent on building its brand, investing in internet-of-things and design innovation and geographical expansion. Haier said it would spend between €20m (£18m) and €60m on media investment in each European country it has a presence.

Backing its promise of moving into the premium end of the market, Haier launched a roll call of superior new products into Europe at IFA, from its InstaSwitch “new generation” of smart upright freezers which can flip into fridge mode when needed to the Duo Dry series of double-drum washer and dryers, and a new partnership with Amazon for its connected range.

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