May 29, 2008 / 7:09 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Arcelik says monitoring GE appliances sale

(Adds shares, quotes, analyst comment, background)

ISTANBUL, May 29 (Reuters) - Turkish white goods manufacturer Arcelik (ARCLK.IS) said on Thursday it was closely monitoring the planned sale of General Electric Co’s (GE.N) appliances business.

But Arcelik said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange it had not made a decision on bidding for the century-old business, owned by the second-largest U.S. company by market capitalisation.

Shares in Arcelik were down 1 percent at 5.05 lira in early trade in Istanbul after the statement. Istanbul's main share index .XU100 was up 0.53 percent.

“Growing through the purchase of foreign companies has an important place in the growth strategy of Arcelik,” the company’s statement said.

“In this context, Arcelik is closely monitoring developments regarding the possible sale of General Electric’s durable goods business,” he said.

GE’s chief executive on Wednesday named five non-U.S. appliance manufacturers, including Arcelik, as potential bidders for the unit.

The other possible bidders were China’s Haier, South Korea’s LG Electronics, Sweden’s Electrolux and Mexico’s Controladora Mabe, GE’s Jeff Immelt said.

One research report expressed scepticism about the prospects of Arcelik, which has been expanding abroad through partnerships and acquisitions, buying the business.

Ak Invest said in a daily note: “We think the purchase of the whole of GE appliances by Arcelik is very big. As of the end of the first quarter, the company had a net debt position of $2.26 billion.”

Last year Arcelik bought a Chinese washing machine maker as part of its strategy to expand in that region.

GE’s appliances unit last year sold $7.2 billion worth of refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances.

Analysts and investors have estimated the business, which is No. 2 in the U.S. behind Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N), could sell for between $4 billion and $8 billion. (Reporting by Daren Butler, editing by Will Waterman)

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