Whirlpool plans ME expansion

DUBAI — Whirlpool Corporation, a US-based manufacturer of major home appliances, yesterday vowed to expand operations in the UAE and the whole Middle East targeting the high-end market, as it is looking to at least Dh95 million worth of sales until mid-2009.

By Jose Franco

Published: Thu 27 Mar 2008, 11:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:24 PM

Lorenzo Milani, the company’s general manger for the Mediterranean region, yesterday said that Whirlpool is embarking on a more aggressive presence in emerging markets, particularly the UAE, with its innovative and high-quality products.

“This is a challenging market, accepting nothing less than the best,” said Marc Bitzer, president of Whirlpool Europe and executive vice-president of Whirlpool Corporation. “We offer unique European flair and sense of style, backed by the solidity and reputation of a global brand.”

Milani said that Whirlpool, whose annual sales worldwide near Dh73.5 billion ($20 billion), had tendered for 15 development projects over a four-month period since October that involve the furnishing of new apartments in Dubai’s Rolex Towers and Motor City racing complex with kitchen and other home appliances.

Anil d’ Souza, product sales manager at Al Ghandi Electronics, Whirlpool’s distributor in the UAE, said the agreement is worth Dh35 million with delivery until June next year. He added that negotiations for another agreement involving 22 property projects are in the offing, and will bring the total sales to Dh95 million.

Al Gandhi’s assistant general manager, Kurian Abraham, said there are no immediate plans to increase the number of his company’s showrooms, which is currently at seven, across the UAE. He stressed that Al Ghandi would be able to cope with the expected demand for Whirlpool products through its 150 dealers.

Stefano Zocca, regional director for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Whirlpool, said that a strong presence in the Gulf countries is a “strategic priority” for the company. He added that the company would want to reinforce its regional position through its partners.

“And we know that in these markets, it is not just high quality and style that count, but also energy efficiency and product safety — a combination of elements that Whirlpool is perfectly placed to supply,” he added in a statement.

Milani said that sales of Whirlpool products in the Middle East reached Dh734.5 million ($200 million) last year, with the Gulf countries accounting for Dh404 million ($110 million).

He also said that Whirlpool has chosen Dubai for the upcoming launch of KitchenAid, its pilot brand for the Middle East region. Specially designed for modern gourmets and cooking enthusiasts, the new brand offers a complete range of products from small and large domestic appliances to cooking utensils.

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