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German Robot Maker Kuka Sells U.S. Unit to Appease Regulators

December 15, 2016

Latest Robotic Technology On Display At Automatica Trade FairLatest Robotic Technology On Display At Automatica Trade Fair
A Kuka LBR iiwa industrial robotic arm pours a glass of beer during the Automatica trade fair in Munich, Germany on June 21, 2016.Martin Leissl/Bloomberg/Getty Images

German industrial robot maker Kuka has sold its Systems US-Aerospace-Business to Advanced Integration Technology to satisfy demands from U.S. regulators in connection with a takeover by a Chinese buyer, it said on Thursday.

Home appliance maker Midea launched its offer for Kuka in May, the biggest Chinese deal for a German industrial technology company.

Kuka said on Thursday its takeover by Midea needed the approval of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

“The sale of the Systems US-Aerospace-Business is a crucial prerequisite to obtain these approvals,” it said.

There have been growing objections in Germany and the United States to China buying up firms with strategic technologies abroad without allowing reciprocal transactions at home. The U.S. earlier this month blocked a deal for a Chinese buyer to take over German chip equipment maker Aixtron.

Kuka’s Systems Aerospace business focuses on tooling and the automation of assembly processes such as drilling and riveting for aircraft manufacturing.