NZ stock market halts trading in Fisher & Paykel

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- The New Zealand stock market has suspended trading in shares of Fisher & Paykel Appliances pending an announcement.

The home appliance company has been the target of a $704 million takeover bid by Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group, which already owns 20 percent of the company. It's possible the halt Thursday morning has been prompted by Haier deciding to sweeten its offer.

Haier had offered NZ$1.20 for the remainder of the company, a 60 percent premium on the pre-offer closing price. But Fisher & Paykel directors recommended shareholders reject that offer, citing an independent valuation report that concluded the company was worth between NZ$1.28 and NZ$1.57 per share.

Fisher & Paykel is a 78-year-old manufacturing company that is considered iconic by many New Zealanders.