Panasonic to Pay $1.5 Billion for U.S. Fridge Maker Hussmann

  • President Tsuga steering away from televisions, smartphones
  • Clayton, Dubilier bought Hussmann from Ingersoll-Rand in 2011

Panasonic Corp. agreed to pay 186.6 billion yen ($1.5 billion) for U.S.-based maker of refrigeration systems Hussmann to bolster its housing operations and move further away from consumer electronics.

The company will purchase the parent of Hussmann Corp. from private equity fund Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and make it a wholly owned subsidiary, Panasonic said in a statement in Tokyo on Monday. The deal is expected to close in April.

President Kazuhiro Tsuga has steered a recovery in the past three years after record losses by moving away from TVs and smartphones to focus on housing, information systems for cars and making batteries with Tesla Motors Inc. Tsuga has said the Osaka-based company plans 200 billion yen in strategic investments this fiscal year, part of a push to spend 1 trillion yen to reach a goal of 10 trillion yen in revenue by fiscal 2018.

Hussmann makes refrigerators used by supermarkets, including display cases, doors and lighting systems.

After Panasonic posting combined net losses of 1.5 trillion yen in fiscal 2012 and 2013, the company is expecting its third straight annual profit.

Operating income will probably be 430 billion yen in the year to March 2016, the highest profit since 2008, the company said in October.

Panasonic has said it expects sales of 2.5 trillion yen in its business that includes avionics and security systems, about 2.1 trillion yen for automotive components, 2 trillion yen for housing and 2.3 trillion yen for household appliances in the year ending March 2018.

Clayton, Dubilier, one of the industry’s oldest private equity firms, bought control of Hussmann in 2011 from Ingersoll-Rand Plc. Reuters reported the Panasonic deal earlier Monday.

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