* Sees demand growth in North America, Asia
* Sees roughly flat European market
* Expects savings of about 1 bln SEK in 2014
* Says parts of Indesit could be attractive
(Adds CEO comments, background)
STOCKHOLM, Nov 13 Electrolux, the
world second biggest home appliances maker, forecast a slight
rise in demand next year as the drag of a moribund European
market was offset by growth in other parts of the world.
The company, which makes appliances such as fridges and
cookers under brands including Frigidaire, AEG and Zanussi, also
said cost savings would reach about 1 billion Swedish crowns
($150.6 million) in 2014 while investments in R&D and marketing
would be slightly higher than in 2013.
Home appliances makers, including market leader Whirlpool
, have been busy cutting costs and shifting production to
emerging markets in recent years as they wait for market demand
to revive in major markets on both sides of the North Atlantic.
While industry shipments of appliances have risen steadily
in recent quarters in North America, demand in Europe remains in
the doldrums and is weighing on volumes as well as prices.
Electrolux said it expected group-wide demand to rise
slightly in the fourth quarter, in line with a full-year
forecast for demand to rise 7-9 percent in the United States,
where a housing market recovery is supporting demand, while
Europe would decline 1-2 percent.
"Market demand in 2014 is also expected to be slightly
positive, with growth in North America and Asia Pacific partly
offset by a flat market in Europe and a slowdown in Brazil from
the high levels seen in 2013," the company said.
Demand in Europe, Electrolux's top market alongside North
America, has seen steady decline for years as the debt crisis
and related deep recession has eaten into consumer spending.
"You've got to stop before you start going up," Chief
Executive Keith McLoughlin told journalists on the sidelines of
presentations for investors and analysts.
"So I would say that we think we've seen the worst. We think
we are at the bottom and that the decline will stop."
The company, which unveiled plans in October to cut 2,000
jobs and save 1.8 billion Swedish crowns ($271 million) in the
face of the weakness in European demand, said prices and product
mix were seen yielding a slight boost next year.
Still, prices in Europe alone were expected to remain under
pressure amid lingering economic weakness though a better
product would mitigate the impact.
The top shareholder in Indesit is looking at
alternatives to its investment in the white goods maker, the
company said this month, fuelling speculation about a potential
deal involving the Italian company.
"Are there portions of companies such as Indesit that could
be attractive to us given their portfolio? Yes," McLoughlin
said. "Are there portions that we don't need more of? Yes. So it
is not an easy equation to solve," he added.
($1 = 6.6415 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Helena Soderpalm; Editing by