Whirlpool remains the largest producer of home appliances in Italy, contributing almost 1 billion Euros a year to the country’s economy
Italy is a strategic country for Whirlpool in EMEA, the cease of production of the Naples plant is confirmed on October 31 due to a dramatic decline in global demand of Omnia high-end washing machines
Whirlpool EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) met today the Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli, the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Economic Development Alessandra Todde, together with the Minister of South Giuseppe Provenzano, Invitalia, trade unions and the representatives of the Campania, Lombardy, Tuscany and Marche regions. The aim was to continue the discussions already opened about the company’s Italian Industrial Plan.
During the meeting, Whirlpool highlighted that the company employs over 5000 women and men in Italy, and reiterated the strategic importance of Italy for Whirlpool within the EMEA region. The company is proud to have its EMEA headquarters in Italy, where it produces more than 4 million units a year, 80% of which are serving consumers in Europe and also exported across the world, being by far the largest producer of home appliances in Italy.
Whirlpool also reaffirmed its commitment to Italy where the company invested over 500 million Euros between 2015 – 2018 and is committed to continue investing 250 million Euros as per Italy Industrial Plan 2019-2021.
At the same time, the company reiterated that they have experienced a dramatic decline in demand for the Omnia high-end washing machine manufactured in the Naples plant. Since 2009 volumes have dropped almost 70% from about 700,000 to less than 200,000 units a year resulting in the plant operating at less than 30% of its capacity. This situation is unsustainable for the plant and the company.
For this reason, 18 months ago the Company started discussing potential transition scenarios and working with unions and institutional stakeholders – both national and local – in order to find a sustainable solution and minimise disruption associated with Whirlpool’s exit from the Naples plant.
In October 2019, the Company agreed to extend the time of production of the Omnia washing machines to identify such a solution, which unfortunately wasn’t found. Consequently, the company confirmed its intention to cease production at the plant on October 31, 2020. Not addressing this challenge would indeed further jeopardize Whirlpool’s industrial competitiveness in Italy.
Whirlpool is committed to supporting its employees in the transition, seeking a mutual agreement with all parties involved.
Luigi La Morgia, Vice President Integrated Supply Chain for the EMEA Region and Managing Director for Italy, said: “Italy is where we are proud to have our EMEA Headquarters, where we employ 5.000 women and men, and where have almost 2000 suppliers that serve the whole group, with a total of purchases close to 1 billion Euros in the country. Italy remains a strategic hub for the EMEA region, both from an industrial and commercial perspective. We confirm the 250 million Euros investment envisioned for the 2019-2021, reaffirming our commitment towards our people and the Country. We care about our impacted people and we are committed to support them beginning November 1st. ”