By Adam Coleman

TURKEY: Whirlpool has partnered with Turkey’s number one exporter, appliance manufacturing giant, Vestel, to enter the Turkish market through the local company’s distribution channels and utilise the company’s OEM (original equipment manufacturing) capability.

“The partnership will allow us to significantly gain presence in the Turkish market. They are a big supplier of whitegoods around the world,” Whirlpool Australia, managing director, Mark Poole told

The partnership contract is worth $250 million and reputed to be one of the second or third largest contracts of its kind in the world.

Aside from the sale of Whilpool products in Turkey, the agreement is also expected to involve Vestel’s production of whitegoods for Whirlpool’s European market, along with the Turkish company’s cooperation in the Russian market, where Whirlpool has no factory.

“We will certainly look at them as a serious OEM source, just like we look around the world with our own factories. We are more than happy to work with partners and they are an important partner. So that could definitely enhance our product offering in the future,” said Poole.

“[Vestel] has done work for a variety of whitegoods suppliers and they have done work for us. They are someone we consider to be a best in class partner and we trust them deeply. We are partnering with them to gain access to their distribution network and their customer service capability. Of course their OEM capability is also very useful,” he said.

Under the agreement, Whirlpool products are to be displayed in 47 Vestel stores around Turkey and in three years’ time this figure is slated to reach 500 stores.

Vestel’s production exceeded 15 million units in 2005 with an export turnover of over €2.2 billion (A$3.8 billion).

“[Vestel] is an innovative company and this [deal] strengthens the relationship and there is the possibility of more OEM work in the future,” Poole said.

“Right now its early days and the intention of the original partnership was to help us gain access the Turkish market.”

Vestel and Whirlpool are among several companies that bid for appliance and television OEM, Daewoo Electronics. At this stage it is unclear if either company has been shortlisted.