Indesit Looking to Merge – Who Will it Fit the Best?

Indesit Co SpA has been struggling to overcome the sharp decline in demand in Western Europe. It has made several attempts to revive profitability, including trying to move its product offering up to a more premium level and breaking into the premium small appliances category. However, growth remains elusive and the company is now looking for a merger opportunity to find growth. Big names such as Electrolux, Whirlpool and Arçelik are possible candidates but the question is, for which company will Indesit be the best fit? In a series of articles, starting with Electrolux, Euromonitor International seeks to find the best match.

Electrolux versus Indesit: Strong Geographical Overlap in Europe

Electrolux has expressed an interest in buying some of Indesit’s assets. However, will Indesit make a good fit for Electrolux? Electrolux lost its second position in the global major appliances market to Haier in 2010 and has since posted a modest performance. 4% year-on-year growth at global level in 2013 was the result mainly of strong growth in Brazil and Russia, but behind this lies a troubling reality. Electrolux has not managed to return to pre-crisis levels in Western or Eastern Europe or even North America. Furthermore, in Western Europe, originally its domestic market, Electrolux posted a volume decline every year over 2008-2013, except for 2010, which has led the company to undergo a strict cost-reduction restructuring programme. Such is the situation in Western Europe for the company that Latin America has now become its largest market.

In terms of categories and markets, Electrolux is one of the companies with which Indesit has the greatest overlap. Nevertheless, Electrolux has mentioned that it is eager to regain a strong base in its home market, Europe, and although both companies’ fate in Western Europe has been similarly downbeat, Indesit does have a stronger foothold in key markets such as France, Italy, the UK and the more promising Turkey.

Electrolux versus Indesit: Volume Sales Performance in Western Europe 2008-2013

Source: Euromonitor International

Russia and Turkey could be the bait for Electrolux

Indesit’s strong presence in Russia, where Electrolux’s performance has not been as buoyant as Indesit’s, could be a strategic point in Eastern Europe. Indesit posted a 7% CAGR over 2008-2013 and boasts a 4% volume share in Russian consumer appliances, where it leads major appliances with a 16% volume share. Major appliances in Turkey and Russia are anticipated CAGRs of 8% and 7%, respectively, over 2013-2018, so appear to be markets well worth exploiting.

Electrolux versus Indesit: Volume Sales Performance in Eastern Europe 2008-2013

Source: Euromonitor International

Home laundry and refrigeration are the two categories in which Indesit outperforms Electrolux in Europe and where Electrolux could gain the most from any merger. This is true for sales and also production. A particular advantage that Indesit could tempt Electrolux with is its production capacity for both categories in Russia and Turkey. Indesit has already established strong production hubs in these growing markets, while Electrolux’s production footprint there is non-existent.

In summary, although Indesit and Electrolux have a strong overlap in both markets and categories, Electrolux could leverage some of Indesit’s strengths. Indesit’s stronger presence in key Western European markets could help Electrolux regain strength in its domestic market. This, in turn, will help it to stand on a more solid base to grow in emerging markets where Indesit could provide an advantage. Whether this is enough, we will have to wait and see.