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ELECTROLUX

Wallenberg takes over at Electrolux

Marcus Wallenberg, scion of Swedish industry's most powerful family, has been named chairman of white goods giant Electrolux.

Wallenberg’s appointment comes ahead of the imminent departure of Michael Trescow, who will give up the chairmanship at the company’s annual general meeting on April 16th. Treschow was recently made chairman of British-Dutch consumer products group Unilever.

Marcus Wallenberg is currently chairman of SEB bank, defence company Saab and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). He is also a vice chairman of telecom giant Ericsson, where Michael Treschow is chairman.

Wallenberg has been on board of Electrolux since 2005, and had been widely viewed as a leading candidate to take over from Treschow. The Wallenberg’s family’s holding company Investor controls 27.6 percent of the voting rights in the Swedish domestic appliance maker.

Taking over the chair of Electrolux strengthens Marcus Wallenberg’s leading role in Swedish business. The only other Swedish businessman who holds as many chairmanships of major companies is Sverker Martin-Löf, who presides over the boards of forestry company SCA, steelmaker SSAB and construction giant Skanska. Martin-Löf is also a vice-chairman of Ericsson.

Marcus Wallenberg is one of his family’s two leading representatives in Swedish business. His cousin Jacob is chairman of Investor and vice-chairman of SEB, Atlas Copco and SAS.

Michael Treschow, until recently one of the top names in Swedish business, is now set to keep a lower profile in his homeland. As well as giving up the Electrolux chair, he recently quit as chairman of Ericsson, and is leaving his role as chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. His new role at Unilever will, however, give him a high profile internationally.

ELECTROLUX

Sweden’s Electrolux sees big US deal stopped

UPDATED: Shares in Swedish white goods giant Electrolux plummeted on Monday morning after US firm General Electric, which was poised to sell its appliance division to the Nordic firm, cancelled the agreement.

Sweden's Electrolux sees big US deal stopped
Electrolux's office in Kungsholmen, Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT
Electrolux, which sells brands including Frigidaire, AEG and Zanussi as well as its own name, is already the world's second-largest home appliance maker after Whirlpool.
 
It announced a year ago that it wanted to buy part of General Electric (GE).
 
But the US firm said on Monday that it has decided to cancel the agreement to sell its appliance division to the Swedish group which had offered last year to buy it for $3.3 billion.
 
The US Department of Justice had threatened to sue Electrolux and GE over concerns the deal would create a duopoly and hand Electrolux a US market share of some 40 percent.
 
Electrolux said it had made extensive efforts to obtain regulatory approval, and said it “regrets” that GE had terminated the agreement while the court procedure was still pending.
 
“Although we are disappointed that the acquisition will not be completed, Electrolux is confident that the Group has strong capabilities to continue to grow and develop its position as a global appliances manufacturer”, said Keith McLoughlin, President and CEO of Electrolux in a statement.
 
Shares in Electrolux — one of Sweden's most famous brands — initially dropped by 14 percent after the decision was announced, and remained 12 percent lower by mid-morning.
 
The failed deal has already cost the company millions of kronor in preparatory work and General Electric has requested a termination fee of $175 million.
 
GE revealed in a statement that it was still interested in selling the appliance division.
 
Monday's announcement took some analysts by surprise.
 
“I was surprised this deal was contested by the Justice Department, but then when we saw what their concern, which was the creation of duopoly in a part of the appliance market, it began not to look so good,” said Karri Rinta, an analyst with Handelsbanken Capital Markets.
 
“It's back to square one for Electrolux in North America. This is a deal that would have made them much stronger in the US especially against Samsung and LG,” he said.