Chinese companies continue to invest in strategic overseas assets

Chinese companies continue to invest in strategic companies abroad in line with government guidelines that encourage some deals and make others more difficult. The latest takeovers target the financial sector and key industries highlighted in China’s industrial strategy “Made in China 2025.” 

In late September, British chipmaker Imagination Technologies was bought by the China-backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge, a company that had previously been blocked by the Trump administration from taking over a US semiconductor maker due to national security concerns. 

Also in the UK, Acro Aircraft Seating was bought by a technology firm from Zhejiang province. In Denmark, carmaker Geely bought a 50-percent stake in Saxo Bank. The deals are a further sign that in China it’s increasingly the state who decides which foreign investments are considered suitable for the country. 

Meanwhile in Switzerland, a China-linked deal came under scrutiny. The Swiss Takeover Board has asked China’s HNA Group to clarify its ownership structure after its takeover last year of aviation services company Gategroup. The commission pointed out that shareholdings listed in HNA’s prospectus for that acquisition differed from recent statements by the group’s top leadership.