Law of gravity
US-based Whirlpool Corp., the world's No. 1 home appliance maker, recently announced its second largest acquisition in less than a year, with plans to buy a majority stake in Indesit SpA of Italy. An earlier acquisition of a 51% stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric is also expected to significantly enhance Whirlpool's presence in the Asian market, especially in China, where Hefei Sanyo is the third largest appliance maker.
In Europe, the acquisition of appliance maker Fagor Electrodomesticos -- which owns the Fagor, Edesa, Aspes and Spendid brands -- strengthens the position of Spain's CNA Group in the appliance market across several segments, including laundry, cold and cooking appliances; small electric housewares and air conditioning appliances, all heavy users of power semiconductors.
IHS forecasts worldwide shipments of home appliances will be up 4.8 percent over 2013 and reach 611 million units by 2015 the end of the year. (Source: IHS)
CNA said the objective is to restart Fagor corporate and manufacturing activities as quickly as possible, and to bring back 840 jobs over the next four years. Today the company has plants in Torello, Spain; São Paulo, Brazil; and Xiao Lan, China.
Sweden's Electrolux AB has also confirmed its interest in buying the home appliance business division of Kentucky-based General Electric (GE). This $2bn deal would significantly change the balance of device purchasing around the globe. Electrolux has historically expanded through acquisitions with Frigidaire in 1986, AEG's household division in 1994 and Chilean appliance manufacturer CTI in 2011, and recently opened a cooking-appliance plant in Memphis, Tenn.
However, the deal is not yet done, and LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics are also expected to be interested in GE's US facilities, rather than in the GE brand name, promising further turbulence in the market.
Increasing connectivity and electronic control in home devices continues to shake up, driving more changes to semiconductor manufacturing.