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Gorenje Says Takeover of Asko New Strategic Milestone

Velenje, 17 August (STA) - The July takeover of Sweden's Asko Appliances Group by Slovenian home appliance maker Gorenje is a new strategic milestone, as it enables both companies to seek numerous synergies and facilitates growth, the Gorenje chairman told the press in Velenje on Tuesday as he presented the details of the deal.

According to Franjo Bobinac, with the EUR 4.5m acquisition of Asko, which has 850 employees, Gorenje realised a part of its strategy of becoming a fast-growing all-European player in the industry.

Asko generated EUR 170m in revenues last year, while revenues for 2010 are projected to stand at EUR 176m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at EUR 7.2m. Its capital at the end of June stood at EUR 26.5m, while debt amounted to EUR 18.9m.

Bobinac added that Gorenje would invest in Asko, which was incorporated in the Gorenje group on 1 August, between EUR 4m and EUR 5m a year. The first major financial injection could be carried out as early as this year.

He is satisfied with the acquisition because Asko complements Gorenje's washing machine programme, its presence on the US, Australian and Scandinavian markets, and its excellent managerial team.

Gorenje board member Branko Apat added he expected synergies in marketing, production and development. He praised the complementarity of the companies' product portfolios.

According to Apat, the Gorenje and Asko brands together could soon reach a 10% market share in Scandinavia. Board member Mirjana Dimc Perko meanwhile added the acquisition would boost the price of Gorenje shares.

Asko director Staffan Billinger said he recognised new opportunities in Gorenje as the new owner as he is convinced membership in the Gorenje group brings numerous advantages.

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