Brussels, 13 October 2014
The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Italian major domestic appliances manufacturer Indesit Company S.p.A. ('Indesit') by its US rival Whirlpool Corporation ('Whirlpool'). Both companies manufacture and supply major domestic appliances ('MDAs'), including refrigerators, freezers, cooking appliances, dishwashers or, washing machine stumble dryers and microwave ovens. In addition, Whirlpool manufactures refrigeration compressors used in refrigerators and freezers. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, given that many alternative MDA suppliers exist in the European Economic Area (EEA) and at national level.
Both Whirlpool and Indesit produce all types of MDAs and are active in various Member States. However, the Commission found that the parties are not particularly close competitors and the combined entity would continue to face significant competition from a number of strong European players, such as Electrolux, BSH, Candy and Míele as well as other rapidly-growing competitors such as Arcelik of Turkey, Samsung and LG of South Korea. Therefore, customers would still have sufficient alternative suppliers in all MDA categories.
The transaction also creates a vertical relationship in the market for refrigeration compressors, which are produced by Whirlpool and used as an input in the production of refrigerators and freezers. However, the Commission found that the merged entity's market share in refrigeration compressors will remain moderate after the merger and a number of alternative compressor suppliers will remain on the market, including competitors such as Secop, Huayi/Jiaxipera, LG and Samsung.
The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.
The transaction was notified to the Commission on 8 September 2014.
Companies and products
Whirlpool is a U.S. incorporated company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Whirlpool manufactures and markets a full line of major appliances and related products, primarily for home use. Whirlpool’s principal products are major domestic appliances ('MDAs'). In the EEA, Whirlpool markets and distributes MDAs primarily under the Whirlpool, Bauknecht, Ignis, Maytag, Laden, Polar, and Privileg brands.
Indesit is a joint-stock company listed on the Italian Stock Exchange almost exclusively active in the production and sale of MDAs. In the EEA, Indesit markets and distributes its products under the Indesit, Hotpoint / Hotpoint-Ariston and Scholtès brands.
Merger control rules and procedures
The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.
The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).
More information on the case is available on the competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7366