* Loewe filed for protection from creditors earlier in July
* Deal gives Loewe, Hisense access to each other’s markets
* Hisense brings no cash, Loewe still seeking investors
* Loewe share closes up 23 percent (Adds Loewe CEO comment on no cash from China)
BERLIN/FRANKFURT, July 31 (Reuters) - Germany’s Loewe AG has struck a strategic partnership with China’s Hisense International Co., Ltd that includes no cash funding, leaving the troubled high-end TV maker still searching for investors, Loewe’s chief executive said.
Loewe, which filed for protection from creditors’ demands earlier this month, saw its shares rise by a third on Wednesday after unveiling the agreement to pursue joint purchasing, production, development and sales with Qingdao-based Hisense.
However welcome, the new Chinese partner - a maker of flat-screen TVs and home appliances - was bringing no cash to the venture, Loewe Chief Executive Matthias Harsch told his company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
“I would have preferred it if we had also gotten some money from Hisense,” Harsch said, adding that he was still searching for investors who could pump in the 50 million euros ($66 million) the company sees as necessary to help secure its future.
“This is our sole priority for the next three months,” he added.
Loewe filed for protection from creditors at a German court on July 16 under a law that gives firms up to three months of breathing room to try to fix their finances and stave off insolvency.
The company had failed to keep up with mass-market rivals such as Samsung and LG Electronics, and to cope with a slide in the average price of TV sets. Its losses almost tripled to 29 million euros in 2012.
Loewe stock, which has slid since the financial crisis, closed up 24 percent at 2.16 euros.
“Hisense will give Loewe long-term access to the latest TV panel technology and attractive markets in China,” Loewe said in a statement.
Loewe, which is 28 percent-owned by Japan’s Sharp, would in turn offer Hisense its distribution network in western Europe and would exclusively distribute Hisense in the Austrian test market for new Ultra-HD technology, the statement said.
Hisense would get access to Loewe’s software for high-end televisions, including multimedia and Internet applications, Loewe added. ($1 = 0.7531 euros) (Reporting by Jonathan Gould, Hans-Edzard Busemann and Irene Preisinger; editing by Harro ten Wolde, Marilyn Gerlach and Tom Pfeiffer)