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Moulinex Gets Takeover Offers

September 25, 2001

PARIS (AP) _ Two companies have made formal takeover offers for French appliance maker Moulinex SA, which filed for bankruptcy this month, a union said Tuesday.

The companies that applied to salvage Europe’s third-largest domestic appliance maker were private real-estate company Fidei and a company formed by a group of Moulinex employees, the CGT union said.

Another group, French rival Seb, has showed interest but did not file a request with court administrators by the Tuesday deadline, the union said.

A court in Nanterre, outside Paris, is to decide if the offers are viable.

Moulinex filed for bankruptcy after its main shareholder, Italy’s Elettro Finanziaria, withdrew its backing for a $320 million rescue package.

The French appliance maker got a modest start making hand-held mashed potato grinders and later became synonymous with small kitchen appliances such as kettles, food processors and pressure cookers.

Plagued by industry overcapacity, fierce competition from overseas suppliers and debts of more than $750 million, Moulinex has been struggling to survive for months, and its employees have waged several protests against projected job cuts.

Besides Moulinex and Brandt, the company owns well-established brands Krups and De Dietrich as well as a portfolio of 12 local brands such as Ocean, Sauter, and Vedette.

The company has a commercial presence in 170 countries and employs 21,500.

Moulinex shares closed up 25.4 percent at 0.84 euros (77 cents) on Tuesday in Paris.

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