/

Whirlpool to buy Sanyo China unit

Kyodo

Sanyo Electric Co. has reached a deal to sell its stake in a joint venture in China to U.S. home appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. for around ¥22 billion, Sanyo officials said.

With the sale of its 29.51 percent stake in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. in Anhui province, eastern China, the electronics giant will withdraw from the white goods business in the Chinese market, the officials said Tuesday.

Whirlpool is planning to turn the joint venture into a subsidiary by acquiring a 51 percent stake by the end of 2014. Hefei Sanyo, established in 1994, makes and sells washing machines and microwave ovens under the Sanyo brand and employs about 10,000 workers.

The Michigan-based home appliance maker has 65 manufacturing and technological research centers around the world, employing around 68,000 workers. Whirlpool’s group annual sales reached $18 billion last year.

Panasonic Corp. has been streamlining overlapping operations since its acquisition of Sanyo in 2009, selling its white goods businesses in Japan and in other parts of Asia — except China — to Haier Group Corp., a leading Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer.

Sanyo now directly operates only two businesses manufacturing flat-panel televisions for U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores in North America and electrical products in Tottori Prefecture.