August 22, 2016 / 2:57 PM / 3 years ago

Eyed by Panasonic, Slovenia's Gorenje returns to profit

A worker arranges washing machines at a factory of Slovenia's largest household appliances maker Gorenje in Velenje May 11, 2010. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenian household appliances maker Gorenje GORE.LJ, a possible takeover target for its Japanese investor Panasonic (6752.T), returned to profit in the first six months of 2016, the company said on Monday.

Gorenje had net profit of 2.1 million euros ($2.4 million) in the first half of 2016 after a loss of 6.9 million in the same period a year ago. Sales rose by 4.2 percent to 581 million euros.

As well as higher sales, the improvement was thanks to better management of the costs of labour, raw materials and logistics and currency factors, the company said.

Gorenje, whose products include ovens and washing machines, has a market capitalisation of about 182 million euros.

In July it said it would allow consumer electronics firm Panasonic to carry out due diligence by the end of September, saying the activities may lead to Panasonic increasing a stake which at present amounts to 10.74 percent.

Shares of Gorenje lost 1.96 percent to 7.45 euros by the end of trading on Monday, before the results were released, while the blue-chip SBI index .SBITOP eased 0.69 percent.

($1 = 0.8843 euros)

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Keith Weir

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