Whirlpool To Buy Out Mexican Venture

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Whirlpool plans to buy out Vitro S.A.'s 51 percent stake in the partners' Mexican majap joint venture, Vitromatic S.A. de C.V., for $150 million in cash plus the assumption of the latter's $220 million debt load.

The move will give Whirlpool 100 percent ownership of the company, which is the second largest white goods manufacturer in Mexico with $600 million in annual sales and a 34 percent market share, and which also serves as Whirlpool's exclusive Mexican distributor.

Whirlpool expects the operation to become a "strategic extension" of its North American business, allowing it to directly serve Mexico's growing domestic market and expand export opportunities in Central and Latin America. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter.

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