FILE PHOTO: An employee stands next to a Whirlpool washing machine inside a home appliances showroom in New Delhi August 27, 2013. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee
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By Eliana Raszewski
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) — Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp (NYSE:WHR) is set to inaugurate a new factory in Buenos Aires after a $52 million investment, with plans to export more than 70% of the local production, Joao Carlos Brega, the firm’s Latin America chief, said.
The plant, which will employ some 400 workers, will produce 300,000 washing machines each year and export $50 million worth of products around Latin America, mainly to Brazil.
«We know very well the volatility (of the Argentine economy). Making an investment of this amount, $52 million, is not looking to the short term. We are looking at the long term,» Brega said at the factory in Pilar, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Buenos Aires.
He referred to the economic crisis in Argentina, which is struggling to shrink its fiscal deficit, faces 100% annual inflation this year and is looking to boost exports to bolster central bank reserves.
Brega said he expects 60% of raw materials to be sourced from local suppliers within the next two years, up from 20%.
«At the end of the day, it is a project that will generate foreign income for Argentina,» he added.
In 2021, the U.S.-based company reported around $22 billion in annual sales, with 69,000 employees and 54 manufacturing and technology research centers.
Whirlpool has been in Argentina for more than 30 years and in Latin America for more than 60 years.