Electrolux to close Singapore regional office, relocate leadership team to Bangkok


SINGAPORE: Swedish home appliances maker Electrolux is closing its Singapore regional office at Rochester Road and laying off employees. 

The company said on Friday (Feb 2) that its Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East and Africa (MEA) commercial leadership team will also relocate to Bangkok.

“With a newly established commercial set-up for APAC and MEA, Australia and Thailand are becoming key hubs for Electrolux Group in the region,” said Ms Samar Refai, Electrolux’s communications director for the two regions in response to a CNA query. 

“Having the regional capabilities and competencies within these hubs ensures proximity to our customers, consumers, manufacturing sites, R&D and innovation centres.”

She did not comment on how many employees in Singapore would be laid off. 

“Those who are impacted are offered the maximum level of support during the upcoming transition period and are treated with utmost respect,” Ms Refai said, adding that no further details would be provided on the nature of collective agreements with affected employees.

The move will not affect the Singapore sales office in Braddell.

“The decision has no impact, whatsoever, on the operational business and trade relations in any of Electrolux Group’s markets in APAC and MEA,” the spokesperson added.

The Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers’ Union said it is prepared to guide and support any employees retrenched by Electrolux.

“ANOTHER CHALLENGING YEAR”

In an earnings report on Friday, Electrolux said that its net loss more than tripled in 2023 as soaring inflation, higher interest rates and geopolitical tensions weighed on consumers.

The company’s chief executive Jonas Samuelson said that 2023 “proved to be another challenging year” as its losses widened to 5.2 billion kronor (US$500 million).

In mid-January, the company posted a profit warning for the fourth quarter ahead of the earnings report, citing high costs, intensified price competition and weak demand in North America.

For the fourth quarter, Electrolux reported a net loss of 4.1 billion kronor, more than double the loss of 1.9 billion for the same period a year earlier and worse than analyst expectations of a net loss of 2.3 billion kronor, according to a Bloomberg survey.

“It is truly disappointing that the significant cost savings we have realised in North America are not showing on the bottom line but rather consumed by the industry’s high degree of promotional activity,” Samuelson said.

For the year, Electrolux reported 134.5 billion kronor in net sales, nearly matching the 134.9 billion kronor it registered in 2022, and in line with analyst expectations, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Electrolux experienced a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic as housebound consumers turned their attention to refreshing their homes.

But the company was then hit with supply-chain disruptions and is now struggling to adapt to weaker demand.

In October last year, it announced plans to cut about 3,000 jobs, which followed an announcement the year before that it would cut 4,000 jobs, mainly in North America.



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