Asian bidders target white goods maker Gorenje as it jettisons recycling offshoot

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European household appliance manufacturer Gorenje Group has attracted four non-binding offers from potential strategic partners, all Asian groups active in the white goods industry.

After studying the bids, Slovenia-based Gorenje, which has been seeking a strategic partnership since last year, invited three of the unnamed companies keen to acquire a majority stake in Gorenje to proceed to the due diligence phase of the process.

Meanwhile, the independent Slovenian manufacturer reported progress in its policy of divesting non core operations, primarily plastics, metal and other material waste management and recycling subsidiaries.

Last week Gorenje, headquartered in Velenje, revealed it had received seven non-binding offers to acquire its Maribor, Slovenia-based waste materials recycler Gorenje Surovina along with its Kemis affiliates in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

Five of the strategic and financial investors were invited by Gorenje to proceed with due diligence from this week (w/c 19 March). Firm bids must be submitted by the end of May.

In its wider search for a strategic partner, the independent group made clear it aims to secure long term sustainability and the development of its core business. Recent globalisation and consolidation in the white goods sector have prompted Gorenje to seek a partner, its president and CEO Franjo Bobinac made clear last year.

“Gorenje remains one of the few companies in the industry not yet a part of one of the large multinational corporations. Our products have found their way into homes of end users across the globe while competing with the giants of the industry.

“Although we could last for a few more years on our own, we believe that laying the foundations of Gorenje’s longterm competitive edge, further development and hiring is the responsible thing to do,” the chief executive stated in the 2017 group annual report.

A suitable partnership would “not only allow us to accelerate our product innovations but also afford access to key distribution channels and help us strengthen the power of our brand”, he added.

Gorenje, makes a range of white goods from washing machines, cookers, fridge freezers to small kitchen appliances, most including plastics parts, employing 11,000 globally. It runs production plants in Serbia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.   

Much of its business comes from central and south east Europe with Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and US contributing most revenue. In 2016, Gorenje sales amounted to €1.26 billion. 

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