US firm leaving Slovak market, Turks will take over factory

Lay-offs not planned, unionists say.

The US company Whirlpool is leaving the Slovak market.The US company Whirlpool is leaving the Slovak market. (Source: Whirlpool Poprad)

The American manufacturer of white goods Whirlpool, which runs a plant in Poprad, eastern Slovakia, will be leaving the Slovak market later this year.

The plant, the only Whirlpool facility where top loading washing machines are manufactured, will be taken over by the Turkish corporation Arçelik, writes the Korzár website.

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A thousand employees work at the Poprad factory, but they do not seem to be stressed about the change.

“For us, the employees, nothing should change. We have information that we we are supposed to stay and continue working,” said the Whirlpool Slovakia Trade Union Chair, Tomáš Hurajt.

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Pending approval

The merger first needs to be approved in Slovakia, and by anti-monopoly authorities in other European countries, like Poland and Italy, where Whirlpool and Arçelik plan to merge.

Whirlpool will own 25 percent and Arçelik 75 percent in the newly created firm, with an expected turnover of €6 billion after the merger.

Today, Arçelik employs 45,000 people in 30 factories and 53 subsidiary companies in 83 countries. In Europe alone, the firm owns 25 firms and two factories in Romania. Whirlpool has nine factories and 14 daughter companies in 38 countries, including Italy, Poland, Great Britain and Slovakia.

The new company will also have regional user rights for the Beko, Blomberg and Altus brands and the Whirlpool brand for a period of 40 years.

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Whirlpool in Poprad will end 31 years after its arrival in the town.

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