13 Mar 2014

F&P Appliances warns of soft start

1:00 pm on 13 March 2014

Fisher & Paykel Appliances says the appliance market in New Zealand has been soft in the first two months of the year, though the company is expecting a pick-up.

The formerly listed whiteware maker, now owned by Chinese firm Haier, also says the strong New Zealand dollar is hurting it in Australia, its biggest market.

The company is investing about $7.5 million in expanding its research and development facilities in Auckland and Dunedin.

It has created 80 new engineering roles in the two cities and the new facilities will enable it to hire about another 200 people, whom it will bring on board when it can afford to.

Fisher & Paykel is focused on developing new products across all its markets which include the US, China and India, and chief executive Stuart Broadhurst says the company has ambitious growth targets in New Zealand.

"The market itself at retail for appliances, particularly, has been soft ... in January and February and we haven't seen it pick up again yet."

Mr Broadhurst says growth is above last year but "quite a way off our own internal expectations", adding that he expects an improvement in the market.