BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Whirlpool is buying a majority stake in Chinese appliance maker Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. for about $552 million.
Whirlpool Corp., whose brands include KitchenAid, Maytag and its namesake, said Tuesday that the transaction will help it expand in China.
CEO and Chairman Jeff Fettig said in a statement Tuesday that the deal will give Chinese shoppers more products to choose from.
Hefei Sanyo had 2012 revenue of $636 million. Its brands include Sanyo, Rongshida/Royal Star and Diqua. The company is a joint venture between former Hefei Rongshida Group Co. Ltd. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. and Sanyo Electric (China) Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp.
The deal, which gives Whirlpool a 51 percent stake in Hefei Sanyo, is expected to close by the end of 2014. It still needs Chinese regulatory approval and approval from Hefei Sanyo shareholders.
Whirlpool expects the transaction to add to its financial results in the first full year that Hefei Sanyo is part of its business. The Benton Harbor, Mich. company had sales of about $18 billion in 2012.
Whirlpool's shares fell $1.51 to $133.55 in midday trading Tuesday.
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