FRANKFURT, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Any new investor in German lighting group Osram should guarantee they would protect jobs and keep factories open, the country’s biggest trade union said, intervening after potential Chinese buyers emerged.
IG Metall said there should be an agreement between the investor, Munich-based Osram and the union in the event that a new investor takes a stake in the company.
Such an agreement would follow the model of a deal signed by robotics maker Kuka and Chinese home appliances maker Midea in the biggest acquisition to date of a German company by a Chinese buyer.
“We expect an undertaking by a potential investor to guarantee jobs and sites. Also, Osram must keep its independence,” Juergen Wechsler, IG Metall’s Bavaria chief, said in a statement.
Osram had about 33,000 staff globally at the end of last year.
Chinese chipmaker Sanan Optoelectronics said on Monday it had been in contact with Osram about a potential acquisition or cooperation deal.
Investment group GO Scale Capital has also been named as a possible buyer for Osram, which is switching focus from traditional lightbulbs to LED lighting technology.
“Many people think of lightbulbs when they think of the time-honoured company, but actually it’s all about the most innovative and leading technologies in the lighting market,” said senior IG Metall official and Osram supervisory board member Irene Schulz.
Osram, with a market capitalisation of about 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion), would be the biggest German company to be targeted by a Chinese buyer so far. ($1 = 0.8928 euros) (Reporting by Jens Hack; Writing by Georgina Prodhan)