* Closure will eliminate 600 jobs
* Company consolidating operations in China
CHICAGO, April 7, Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N) said
on Tuesday it would close its washing machine manufacturing
facility in Shanghai, China, eliminating 600 jobs, as the
appliance maker consolidates its Chinese operations.
Washing machine production will be moved to the
Hinsense-Whirlpool joint venture manufacturing plant in
ZheJiang Province, where 900 new jobs will be created by the
end of 2009, the company said.
The move will be beneficial because of the greater scale
and size of the ZheJiang facility, which will optimize the use
of resources and provide cost savings, it said.
Whirlpool has established several measures in accordance
with Chinese Labor laws to provide support for employees
affected by the Shanghai closure.
The company's China regional headquarters, a research and
development center, and its commercial and administrative
operations are unaffected by the closure and will remain in
Shanghai. These operations employ about 480 people.
"This consolidation, like other changes we've made as part
of our global operating strategy, are difficult but necessary,
to ensure that Whirlpool Corporation maintains its leadership
position in today's changing global marketplace," said Paulo
F.M.O. Periquito, president of Whirlpool International.
"Whirlpool sees great potential in the Chinese market and
in its consumers, and we believe these moves will enable us to
speed up innovation," he said.
In April 2008, Whirlpool formed a 50/50 joint venture with
Hisense Kelon for the development and production of washing
machines and refrigerators. The companies have agreed to share
research, technology and development capabilities.
Whirlpool shares were down $2.02, or 5.9 percent, at $32.27
in midday New York Stock Exchange trading.
(Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer; editing by John Wallace)