Whirlpool to Close Shanghai Plant

Company consolidates its operations in China

Whirlpool Corp. said it would close its washing machine manufacturing plant in Shanghai, eliminating around 600 jobs, as it consolidates its operations in China.

Production of washing machines will be moved to the company's Hisense-Whirlpool joint venture facility in eastern Zhejiang province, Whirlpool said on April 7.

The relocation to the joint venture factory, which also makes refrigerators, will create 900 jobs by the end of 2009. The company said the move would cut costs and lead to economies of scale.

"Whirlpool sees great potential in the Chinese market and in its consumers, and we believe these moves will enable us to speed up innovation," said Paulo FMO Periquito, president of Whirlpool International.

Whirlpool formed a joint venture last year with China's Hisense Kelon Electric Holdings Corp, in which each firm has a 50% stake, for the development and production of washing machines and refrigerators.

The company said in October it would take "substantial" steps worldwide to reduce costs and production capacity.

As part of the belt-tightening measures, Whirlpool announced the elimination of approximately 5,000 jobs from its global workforce by the end of 2009.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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