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A top executive at Matsushita Electric Industrial said on Tuesday he wanted to enter the European home appliances market, convinced the maker of Panasonic goods can compete in the region with the likes of BSH Bosch Siemens and Electrolux

Joachim Reinhart, head of Matsushita's European operations, told Reuters in an interview that there had been internal discussions over a possible launch of appliances in Europe, but the issue had not yet reached a concrete planning stage.

Matsushita has a successful home appliances business in Japan and is boosting sales in China and other parts of Asia. It is concentrating on high-end products such as a popular but relatively pricey tilt-drum washing machine.

"I'm pretty much convinced we can have success in Europe as well," said Reinhart, the only non-Japanese executive officer at Matsushita. He said the top three competitors in Europe would be Bosch Siemens, Electrolux and Whirlpool.

Reinhart said he still has to convince executives in Matsushita's home appliances (HA) unit of the merits of taking a risk overseas. He had made some headway with former HA chief Yoshitaka Hayashi, who left that post this year.

"Since Hayashi left I have to start from scratch again," said Reinhart, a German who joined Matsushita in 1983 when he was appointed managing director of a joint venture between Matsushita and Bosch. "This is, however, a deeper problem. HA, for instance, is a very domestic-oriented domain."

Theoretically, Reinhart said, once a decision is made it would probably take two years to actually enter the European market because the company would have to tweak its products to meet local standards and go through considerable red tape.

From Reuters

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