Kuka CEO says company in talks with potential new investors

The logo of German industrial robot maker Kuka is pictured on a Kuka robot arm during the Hannover Fair in Hanover, Germany, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German robotics maker Kuka KU2G.DE is in confidential talks about potential new investors in addition to the takeover offer made by Chinese home appliances giant Midea 000333.SZ, Chief Executive Till Reuter said on Wednesday.

Midea, which already owns a 13.5 percent Kuka stake, formally launched its 115 euros a share offer earlier this month to buy at least 30 percent of Kuka, valuing the company at 4.5 billion euros ($5 billion) but causing a furor among German politicians who have urged Kuka to remain independent.

Earlier this week Midea and Kuka unveiled an investor agreement which includes a commitment to keep its existing headquarters, factories and jobs.

Asked how Kuka wants to make sure that Midea will not get a bigger stake than 49 percent, Reuter told reporters on Wednesday that the only way to do that is by getting other large shareholders on board.

“There are still talks ongoing,” Reuter said, declining to elaborate as the talks are confidential.

Kuka’s other main shareholders, apart from Midea, are German mechanical engineering group Voith [VOITH.UL], which holds 25.1 percent of Kuka’s shares and German investor Friedhelm Loh, who has a 10 percent stake.

Loh has not taken a decision yet about what to do with the stake, while Voith will take a decision in due course, Kuka’s management and supervisory board said in their joint opinion.

Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Edward Taylor and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Greg Mahlich