Shandong secures option to increase stake in Kion


FRANKFURT, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Chinese firm Shandong Heavy Industry Group has obtained the option to increase its stake in Germany's Kion Group to a third, tightening its grip on the world's No.2 fork lift truck maker.

Shandong unit Weichai Power was granted the option to acquire a further 3.3 percent in Kion in case of a flotation, Kion said on Thursday, without disclosing any financial details.

This comes on top of an option it already has to raise its stake in the group to 30 percent from 25 percent, it said.

In August, Shandong took a one quarter stake in Kion Group for 467 million euros ($619 million), in what was the largest direct investment by a Chinese company in a German firm.

At the time, Kion said an initial public offering (IPO) remained a strategic aim, adding that the Chinese investment made this more probable.

Shandong is a China-based industrial manufacturer of commercial vehicles, construction machinery, power systems, auto parts and yachts. Kion's owners also include the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs and buyout firm KKR.

Kion said Weichai could obtain the further 3.3 percent from existing shareholder Superlift Holding anytime between Jan. 1. and June 30, 2013, or within three months of completion of a potential future IPO of Kion.

Chinese companies have already scooped up a number of German groups this year to gain access to technology, brands and worldwide distribution, including Sany's purchase of machinery group Putzmeister and Hebei Lingyun's buy of car parts maker Kiekert. ($1 = 0.7542 euros) (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)



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