By Chris Nicholls

AUCKLAND: As part of its global manufacturing restructure, Fisher & Paykel will purchase Whirlpool’s now defunct Reynosa, Mexico refrigerator plant.

The former refrigeration factory, which Whirlpool sold after announcing its manufacturing restructure at the beginning of February, will be turned into Fisher & Paykel’s new North American DishDrawer line and also manufacture a new range of Fisher & Paykel-branded side-by-side refrigerators.

Fisher & Paykel said production of refrigerators with its branding would commence in July this year, with DishDrawers coming out of the factory by January 2009.

The factory sits on 24.4 hectares of land and is split between two buildings totalling 32,600 square metres.

“Buying an existing land and building package, already set up for appliance manufacturing, we are able to fast track our north American DishDrawer project,” said Fisher & Paykel chief executive and managing director, John Bongard.

“This will allow us to have the operation up and running by early next year. We believe that with a small amount of engineering effort, we can also incorporate the existing refrigerator range being produced at Reynosa into our product mix for sale into North America and selected export markets.

Bongard said the deal will cost the company US$33 million, to be paid over four instalments. A further US$8 million of capital will be required to modify the plant, he said.

In a bonus for the approximately 750 staff initially laid off by Whirlpool as apart of its closure announcement, F&P said they would retain “a number” of existing Whirlpool