Nestle in talks to buy Chinese sweetmaker Hsu Fu Chi: media

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Swiss food giant Nestle is in talks to acquire Chinese sweetmaker Hsu Fu Chi in what could be one of the biggest takeovers of a Chinese company by a foreign competitor, economic media said on Monday.

Hsu Fu Chi, listed on the Singapore stock exchange, requested that trading of its stocks be suspended from Monday "to avoid abnormal fluctuation over the company's shares price and maintain shareholders' interests."

The negotiations surrounding the purchase of Hsu Fu Chi were described as delicate, and a deal is not expected before weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a person close to the issue.

Hsu Fu Chi's net profit for the quarter ending March 31 reached 206.6 million yuan (22.0 million euros, $32.0 million), with revenues at 1.5 billion yuan, according to its latest income statement.

For the year ending June 30, 2010, profits were at 602.2 million yuan and revenues at 2.0 billion yuan.

Nestle was not immediately available for comment, while Hsu Fu Chi, which has a market capitalisation of $2.6 billion, said in a statement that it would not comment on the issue.

"The Group has long been pursuing strategic talks with potential confectionery partners in the market," said Hsu Fu Chi.

"Interactive contacts have been conducted with counterparts from Japan, Europe, and the US for years under a continued policy," added the maker of chocolates, candies and jellies.

© 2011 AFP

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