Slovenia-based white goods manufacturer Gorenje Group is to construct two new plants over the next two years, one in Velenje, Slovenia to produce TV sets and the second for refrigerators in Serbia.
Gorenje, acquired by the Chinese electronics group Hisense last year, is building a factory to turn out up to one million Hisense brand TVs annually at its main Velenje industrial complex from late 2020. Its annual capacity is due to rise to 4 million sets by 2023.
Meanwhile, Gorenje plans to expand annual refrigerator and freezer capacity by 150,000 appliances at its existing plant in Valjevo, Serbia after switching Velenje's remaining fridge line to Serbia. Currently, the plant can manufacture 672,000 per year.
In addition, a new cooling appliance production hall will be built at the Valjevo site in the next year adding 750,000 units annually to site output. Production will include fridge-freezers and side-by-side appliances, according to Gorenje.
Valjevo site now employs around 1,500 workers and the planned expansion is due to create another 1,000 jobs there after the new unit starts up in late 2020. Gorenje Valjevo will become Hisense Group's refrigeration technology centre in Europe.
“With last year's entry of Hisense Group (as) the new strategic owner …. we have laid the foundations for even stronger development. This will give us access to new markets and encourage the emergence of a new range of products,” commented Gorenje's group president Franjo Bobinac.
In Velenje, Gorenje has avoided seeing its plans for the new TV plant delayed by anticipating the need for preliminary archaeological works on the proposed 3.5ha site at the heart of its industrial complex.
Archeological excavation was carried out there before the group applied for the construction documentation after Slovenia's Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage had designated the area a site of archeological interest.
Initially, Gorenje expects that the planned Hisense TVs plant will create between 300 and 400 jobs with a workforce of more than 1,000 employed there following the second stage. The facility will supply the greater part of its output to the European market while the overall Slovenia project is due to cost “tens of millions of euros”, Gorenje confirmed.
Hisense Electric, an offshoot of the Qingdao, China-based group acquired a 95.4% share holding in Gorenje last June. Hisense said it planned to make the Slovenian company its research, development and production centre in Europe.