Participation in Kion: Gleiss Lutz advises on largest direct investment from China into Germany

The Chinese conglomerate Shandong Heavy Industry is investing in the Wiesbaden forklift manufacturer Kion. Gleiss Lutz has advised Kion as well as Kion's shareholders, the private equity funds Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs, in connection with the by far largest Chinese direct investment in Germany to date. The total investment amount is 738 million euros. 

As part of a capital increase, Shandong Heavy Industry will first acquire a 25 percent stake in Kion via its affiliate, Weichai Power Co. In connection with the planned IPO of Kion, Weichai Power can increase its stake in Kion to 30 percent. In addition, Weichai Power will purchase a 70 percent stake in the hydraulics business of Kion subsidiary, Linde Material Handling. To implement this investment, the hydraulic business will be spun off from the Kion Group into a joint venture of Linde Material Handling and Weichai Power and, in future, operate under the name "Linde Hydraulics".

Along with the stake in Kion and Linde Hydraulics, Kion and Weichai Power are entering into a strategic cooperation which, among other things, will include joint projects in the areas of purchasing and sales as well as research and development.

Kion is one of the world’s leading forklift manufacturers. With approximately 22,000 employees, the group achieved sales of 4.4 billion euros worldwide last year. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs acquired the company from Linde AG in 2006 and will not dispose of any shares as part of the deal. The investment will give Shandong Heavy Industry access to the European market; Kion is looking for strategic advantages on the Chinese market in particular.

The transaction is still subject to the approval of the relevant authorities and third parties, if applicable.

Kion and the private equity investors KKR and Goldman Sachs were advised on the transaction by Gleiss Lutz as lead counsel to the transaction. The Gleiss Lutz team was led by partners Dr. Jan Bauer and Dr. Cornelia Topf (both M&A, Frankfurt) as well as Dr. Christian Cascante (M&A, Stuttgart). The lead advisors on the spin-off of the hydraulics business are Dr. Cornelius Götze (M&A, Frankfurt) and Dr. Burkard Göpfert (employment, Munich). In addition the following Gleiss Lutz lawyers, among others, were also involved:

Dr. Christina von Schweinitz (corporate, Frankfurt), Dr. Stefan Mayer (partner, tax, Frankfurt), Dr. Stefan Weidert (partner, IP/IT, Berlin), Dr. Doris-Maria Schuster (partner, employment, Frankfurt), Dr. Wolfgang Bosch (partner, antitrust, Frankfurt), Dr. Maximilian von Rom (partner, banking and financial, Frankfurt), Dr. Tim Weber (partner, real estate, Frankfurt), Dr. Burghard Hildebrandt (partner, Düsseldorf), Dr. Christian Hamann (Berlin, both state aid and public law), Dr. Alexander Molle (IP/IT, Berlin) and Dr. Johann Wagner (tax, Hamburg).