Business World

Friday 29 August 2014

Whirlpool wins battle for control of Italy's Indesit

Devika Krishna Kumar

Published 12/07/2014 | 02:30

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Indesit factory in Comunanza, Italy

Whirlpool, the world's largest maker of home appliances, said it will buy two thirds of the voting stock of Italian white goods maker Indesit for about €758m to spur its growth in Europe.

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Whirlpool said it will buy a 42.7pc stake from Fineldo, the top investor in Indesit, while certain members of the Merloni family will sell a 13.2pc stake and individual shareholder Claudia Merloni will sell a 4.4pc stake in Indesit.

The total of 60.4pc of Indesit stock capital represents a 66.8pc voting stake. Whirlpool's offer of €11 per share represented a premium of 4.5pc to Indesit's previous close.

Whirlpool, which sells its goods under brand names including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air, recently reported first-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations as currency and other headwinds in Latin America and Asia offset modest sales increases in North America and Europe.

The purchase price is based on Indesit's average net debt position for 2013, Whirlpool said.

"We foresee the acquisition strengthening and sustaining our European manufacturing," said Marc Bitzer, president of North America and EMEA for Whirlpool.

Whirlpool said it intends to finance the deal through existing cash and debt.

Fineldo has been exploring options on its stake since last year. In November, it hired an adviser to assess options for its investment in Indesit. In May, Fineldo said it could still opt to go ahead on a stand-alone basis.

Sweden's Electrolux, the world's second biggest home appliances maker, and China's Sichuan Chaghong Electric, were also vying for a stake in the Italian company, sources said.

Whirlpool said following closing of the acquisition of the Fineldo stake and the Merloni family members' stake, it will launch a mandatory tender offer on all remaining shares of Indesit at around €11.

Irish Independent

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