Whirlpool buys 51 per cent stake in China home appliance maker

City A.M. Reporter
HOME appliance maker Whirlpool said yesterday it will acquire a controlling stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric for $552m (£357m) to expand in China’s fast-growing market for washing machines and fridges.

Hefei Sanyo was set up in 1994 as a joint venture between Japan’s Sanyo Electric, now a unit of Panasonic, and Heifei State-Owned Assets Holding Company, the investment arm of the local state government.

Whirlpool, known for its Maytag and KitchenAid brands, said it would buy a 51 per cent stake in the company by acquiring Sanyo Electric’s stake and through a private placement.

“Whirlpool has a strong presence in China’s higher tier segments, this acquisition allows the company to build on, complement, and grow its position in the emerging Chinese market,” chief executive Jeff Fettig said in a statement.

The deal will help the world’s largest appliance maker boost its business in Asia, which contributed just five per cent to its total sales of $4.7bn in the second quarter.

Hefei Sanyo makes washers, refrigerators and microwave ovens under the Sanyo, Royal Star and Diqua brands.

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