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Italia government exercises golden power over Whirlpool affair

Minister Urso implements special powers to safeguard employment at Italian sites

The italian government has exercised Golden Power in the Whirlpool case. In practice, the executive applying special powers, stood in the way of the merger between Whirlpool Emea and Turkey's Arçelik, aimed at creating a European home appliances group. It all stemmed from the May 1 council of ministers when the Dpcm was approved with which the government, at the proposal of the minister of Enterprise and made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, exercised special powers. The decree authorizes the operation by placing specific prescriptions to safeguard technological assets, production and therefore employment levels, such as the effects of any overlap between the plants of the new group. The operation involves four production plants in Italy: in Lombardy, Tuscany and Marche with 4,638 employees. The transaction is currently undergoing European antitrust proceedings.

In January, Whirlpool, an American multinational also active in Italy in the home appliances market (its brands are Ariston, Ignis, Indesit and KitchenAid) had announced the sale of 75 percent to Arçelik, a Turkish home appliance manufacturer, keeping the remaining 25 percent to manage the European business. The deal is expected to create a strategic platform of more than 6 billion euros in sales, with more than 200 million Euros in cost synergies. 

The Dpcm resolution comes less than a week after the rescue of the ex-Whirlpool plant in Naples, which will be entrusted to Tea Tek Group Spa safeguarding more than 300 jobs. On the dispute, the Ministry of Enterprise has convened the parties involved for May 16 at the direction of minister Urso

"To have a guarantee on the maintenance of employment, industrial and to understand what are the strategic investments to strengthen the weight of the group in the household appliances market is a position that Fim, Fiom, Uilm unitedly demand since the announcement of the operation made by Whirlpool last fall", explains Massimiliano Nobis, national secretary of the union Fim Cisl.

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