Whirlpool has sold EU assets to Turkey's Arcelik. And the Chinese Midea confirms its interest in Electrolux. Are we moving towards a second sale in the white goods sector?
«We do not comment on hearsay – Massimiliano Ranieri fends off, chief operations officer of the Swedish group in Europe and managing director Italy -. However, I can say that investments continue to be made in our country. In Italy there are five factories of the 35 worldwide. We employ over 5,000 staff. In Solaro (Milan) we have invested over 100 million in the production of dishwashers upstream of a profitable agreement with the union. In Porcia, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, we have innovated products and processes».
Is an investment also planned in Susegana, where refrigerators are made?
«I confirm. In the past, in Susegana we have already invested 130 million to create new product platforms with one of the highest levels of automation globally for Electrolux. Now there is talk of another mobilization of resources of the same order of magnitude to extend automation and digitization. Here too, as in Solaro, an agreement with the union is required to release the funds. Negotiations began in March. We had given each other three months, now we have to decide ».
Could the lack of an agreement affect the investment?
«The agreement is essential for this project. It allows us to increase production levels. Without extending working hours or reducing breaks, mind you. We only ask for flexibility in organizing the phases of the work. We have to make a decision, we are evaluating in parallel, in the absence of an agreement, different production areas, internal and external to the group».
How many people work in Susegana?
In the first quarter, sales in Europe were 7% below pre-Covid levels. What happens on the European market?
«Sales have grown in the Covid phase and now it is normal for the cycle to reverse. To this we must add the high inflation which pushes families to postpone purchases».
«Innovation and sustainability. We have reduced emissions by 80% two years ahead of targets».
Are there the conditions to saturate the Italian plants and close with shock absorbers?
«Investments are for this. In Susegana, our goal would be to hire new personnel».
How is the post-flood situation in Forlì, where you produce built-in ovens?
«We resumed production last Wednesday, after a few days of downtime. Great pride in how the employees dealt with the emergency".
We only ask for flexibility in organizing the phases of the work. We have to make a decision, we are evaluating in parallel, in the absence of an agreement, different production areas, internal and external to the group