China's Midea offers £3.4bn bid for German robot maker Kuka

Midea, the Chinese home appliance maker, has disclosed a takeover bid for German industrial robot maker Kuka. Midea is offering €115 per share (£90) for a controlling stake in the firm, valuing it at more than £3.4billion.

Earlier this year Midea doubled its stake in Kuka to 10.2%, making it the company's second-largest shareholder.

Midea's shares have been suspended in Shenzhen following the announcement on Wednesday. However, shares of Kuka have surged by 13% in Frankfurt following media reports of the impending bid.

Kuka’s industrial robots are used by companies such as Audi, BMW and Boeing. It is thought that Midea’s interest in industrial automation stems from workers demanding higher pay, fairer treatment and better conditions as well as the declining working age population, with young people in China shunning engineering jobs in favour of other pursuits.

The proposed takeover would be Midea’s second in as many months after it announced in mid-March that it would buy out Toshiba's consumer electronics business for around £334m.

Midea also reportedly tried to buy General Electric's appliances unit, but was unsuccessful and GE ended up selling to Chinese rival Haier for £3.7bn in January.

According the Financial Times, Chinese companies are due to set a record for acquisitions in 2016. From January to March Chinese companies spent £72.4bn on overseas deals, almost equal to the total amount (£74.4bn) spend in the whole of 2015.