By James Wells

SYDNEY: Fisher & Paykel is expected to introduce its first 90cm cookers into the Australian market by the end of the year from its Elba factory in Italy which was purchased from De’Longhi for $A132 million last month.

Fisher & Paykel chief operating officer, Mike Church, told the acquisition of the Italian cooking manufacturer has been completed and retailers should expect to see the first products from the factory in the fourth quarter of this calendar year.

“The Fisher & Paykel manufacturing facility in Dunedin does not make 900mm built in and freestanding cookers and we have been missing out on the market. Although the Elba acquisition is primarily about sales in Europe and the UK, if we can secure some products for Australia, I see that as a real plus. I see the 900mm category as the obvious
opportunity – there is quite a nice market for that now.

“We may also being in a 600mm product as a built in and freestanding as well but this has not been confirmed at this stage.”

Church has confirmed that the products will look very different to the products sold on the Australian market by the factory’s former owner – De’Longhi.

“They are very different to look at and feature very different styling,” Church said.

He said that there should be no conflict between the two companies in the local market.

“They are a customer of ours and we will honour our arrangement with them,” he said.

Earlier this week Fisher & Paykel Appliances chief executive, John Bongard, said he expected growth in the company’s major market of North America to slow and sales in Europe to improve following the Elba acquisition.

"The US would be starting to get to that period where growth would be slowing but Europe, on the other hand, should be in up-mode so the percentage rate of growth should be higher in the Europe over the next few years," he said.

The USA currently accounts for 34 per cent of F&P Appliances’ total revenue, while Europe, after the Elba acquisition, will contribute around 10 per cent.

Bongard said his Auckland-based company was not considering further acquisition in Europe or the United States.

Prior to the Elba, Fisher & Paykel’s last acquisition was the Dynamic Cooking System business in 2004.