China's Hisense gets EU green light to acquire Slovenia white goods maker Gorenje

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Gorenje's plant in Valjevo, Serbia

Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Hisense Group has won European Union approval under EU merger regulations for its acquisition of the Slovenia-based white goods producer Gorenje Group.

This transaction “raised no competition concerns given the companies’ limited combined market positions and the fact that a number of competitors would remain in the market post-transaction”, the EU Commission ruled.

It had considered the transaction under the EU’s simplified mergers review procedure.

The Chinese purchaser launched a €293m takeover bid to acquire Gorenje in May after the independent European manufacturer selected Hisense as its favoured bidder from a field of three potential strategic partners, all from China.

At the end of June, Qingdao, China-based Hisense Group’s offshoot Hisense Electric had acquired a total share holding in Gorenje of 95.4%.  All of the Slovenian domestic appliance maker’s major shareholders, including Japanese electronics giant Panasonic, agreed to sell their stakes to Hisense.

Slovenia’s state securities market agency ATVP issued a permit in May for Hisense’s European business Hisense Luxembourg Home Appliance Holding and in July declared the takeover deal successful.

Hisense is reported to have said that it plans to make Gorenje a research, development and production centre for the company in Europe.

Today, Gorenje Group, whose history dates back 67 years, has a workforce of 11,000 and production facilities across Europe in Serbia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic along with development and competence centres in Sweden, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

Three appliance plants are in Serbia, including those making fridges and freezers at Valjevo and washing machines and dryers in Zajecar. 

In 2017, the group reported annual turnover of €1.31 billion which represents revenue 4.1% higher than the 2016 result. 

Hisense Electric manufactures electronic goods ranging from washing machines, fridges and air conditioners to laptops, smart phones and televisions. Its shares are traded publicly on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Its parent group is understood to have more than a dozen manufacturing plants across China and other units abroad in Hungary, France, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Mexico.

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