If Charlotte was nervous about the announcement this morning that GE is selling its appliance business to Electrolux, there is no reason to worry according to Electrolux’s CEO Keith McLoughlin.
“Charlotte is the headquarters and will be the headquarters, and the size of the business just doubled,” McLoughlin said. “I would say that the opportunity in Charlotte just got better.”
Electrolux moved its North American headquarters to Charlotte in 2010 and recently announced an $85 million expansion of the facilities in the University City area, according to an article on charlotteobserver.com.
The company currently employs 925 people in Charlotte and has said it expects to increase that number to 1,600 in 2016.
The article, by Rick Rothacker and Steve Lyttle, speculates on what jobs could come to Charlotte.
Some of GE’s Louisville-based administrative jobs could conceivably shift to Charlotte under a merger, Tim Somheil, editor of ApplianceMagazine.com, said last week.
"That would be logical step if one of their goals is to consolidate and make the operations more efficient in the United States,” he said.
As far as GE’s operations in Louisville are concerned and what happens to jobs in Appliance Park, which is home to 12,000 GE appliance workers, in an article in USA Today David Kender, of Reviewed.com, commented that “based on the presentation, GE's Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky is seen as a valuable asset. As such, it could become a manufacturing and logistics hub for Electrolux's North American operations.”
Kender addressed the issues of other factories in the GE Appliance system.
Other major factories are in LaFayette, Georgia and Bloomington, Indiana. But many of those factories are state of the art: After failing to sell in 2008, GE invested over $1 billion into its appliance business, replacing aging equipment and training employees in new technology. Most of Electrolux's research and development is done in Europe, while GE's is mostly done on-site at Appliance Park.
A modernized factory and workforce are likely part of what made the company an attractive acquisition for Electrolux, which just opened its own brand-new oven factory in Memphis, Tennessee and operates other factories in Anderson, South Carolina and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
While GE's labor force is unionized and Electrolux's is not, an industry insider not authorized to speak on record stated that this will likely not have a significant impact, as each company's labor and production costs are similar.