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Candy Group is an Italian privately owned (the Fumagalli family) multi-brand group of companies, among the world leaders in the household appliance industry: washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, cookers and oven, both built-in and free-standing. Its personnel count reached 7,000-plus at year’s end 2008, of whom about 80% are outside Italy.
Headquarters are in Brugherio, near Milano (Italy). Branch offices and fully owned subsidiaries are 40 worldwide. Manufacturing sites are in Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and Uzbekistan.
The Group operates through two international brands, Candy and Hoover, and the national ones: Rosières, Iberna, Jinling, Otsein, Süsler, Vyatka, Zerowatt, Hoover-Helkama, Hoover-Grepa . Back in 1945, the Eden Fumagalli Mechanical Workshop in Monza (a town north of Milan), manufacturers of precision machine instruments, designed the Model 50, the first all-Italian washing machine, which was launched officially at the Milan Trade Fair in 1946. In that same year, the Candy company was established out of the initial family business.
Right from the start, Candy washing machines became the protagonist of the development of Italian appliance market, expanding soon to the whole of Europe.
Innovation has always been the keyword at Candy: In the Sixties, the Automatic washing machine was launched. It was the first fully automatic one, designed and made in Italy on a new platform, which became the global standard for the product.
In 1966, the company entered product diversification presenting Stipomatic, an automatic dishwasher with two compartments. At the same time, the Superautomatic washing machine was launched. These two innovative products paved the way to the expansion of appliances into Italian families.
Acquisitions and sales
The growth strategy to face international competition and enter new markets has been built on innovation and diversification of the product range. Acquisitions of brands and manufacturing facilities added up to this effort: La Sovrana, cookers (1970); Kelvinator Italia (1971) and Kelvinator UK (1980), refrigerators; Zerowatt, washing machines and dryers (1985); Gasfire, built-in cooking appliances (1985); Rosières, a leading French brand in cooking and built-in (1987); Mayc-Otsein, Spain, top loading washing machine specialist (1992); Iberna, an Italian leading brand in fridges and freezers (1993).
1995 saw the acquisition of the Hoover European Appliances company, today the European (and Italian) leader in floor-care. The offer widened to large appliances, whose competitive positioning is at the top of the median band segment of the market. The Company subsequently ceased all UK manufacturing with the closure of factories which had each been operation for over half a century. The Wirral Merseyside Candy refrigeration plant was closed in 2002, the Cambuslang Glasgow Hoover Vacuum Cleaner plant in 2004 and finally in 2009 Candy closed the Merthyr Tydfil Hoover Washing Machine/ Tumble Dryer/ Dishwasher plant. These closures left over 800 employees without jobs who saw all UK manufacturing transferred to the Czech Republic, Far East and Turkey under both the Hoover and Candy brands.
Sixty years after the first washing machine, Candy Group acquired (2005) an established Russian brand in washing machine, Vyatka, and its manufacturing site Vesta in Kirov. In mid-2006, the Jinling washing machine brand was acquired in China, together with its industrial facilities, sales network, international operations. Early 2007 saw the acquisition of Doruk in Turkey, owner of the Süsler brand for cooking appliances. The industrial presence in Russia, China, Turkey also means a leading commercial foothold in these fast-growing markets.
In September 2007, an agreement was reached in the Nordic Region for acquiring the exclusive rights on the national brands Helkama and Grepa from Helkama Forste company in Finland. The ranges of appliances are offered dual-branded with Hoover.
At the end of 2008 the Uzbek-Italian Joint Venture Roison-Candy was established by the Uzbek Limited Liability Company Roison Electronics with partnership of Candy Group. New Company is specialized to produce various domestic appliances, in particular, refrigerators and laundry washers based on the cutting-edge technologies.
As part of Candy's international expansion in the 1970s the company decided to enter the high-dollar world of Formula One. Midway through the 1979 season, Candy became the marquee sponsor for the Tyrrell team with drivers Jean-Pierre Jarier and Didier Pironi. Tyrrell enjoyed some success in 1979, finishing 4th in the Constructor's Championship, and Candy stayed on as the team's sponsor for the 1980 season. In 1981, Candy sponsored the Toleman team and was also later involved with Ligier but eventually withdrew from F1.
Candy were the shirt sponsors of Liverpool F.C. between 1988 and 1992, debuting in the 1988 Charity Shield which Liverpool won 2-1 against Wimbledon, and remembered as the sponsors the last time Liverpool were League champions in 1990. Candy last appeared on a Liverpool shirt on 9 May 1992, when they defeated Sunderland in the 1992 FA Cup final.
Today, Candy's appliances are known more through their continued marketing of the Hoover and Kelvinator brands. Hoover-branded washing machines are largely Candy designs and are made up from Candy components. As well as in Europe, Candy operates manufacturing facilities in China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Ivory Coast, Syria, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Egypt.
As of 2006, Candy remains a family-owned company; Peppino Fumagalli is the Chairman of the Board.