the $3.3 billion sale to Electrolux AB
working its way through regulatory hurdles, managers at General Electric's Louisville-based appliance division are trying to ensure there are no hiccups when Electrolux takes over later this year, GE Appliances CEO Chip Blankenship said Wednesday.

“We want to make sure not a single customer has a problem ordering something or getting something delivered or having a service tech show up…We've got to make sure that whole system works on day one, so really that's what a lot of the effort is focused on right now,” Blankenship said.

But on the big questions – like the future of some 6,000 Louisville jobs between Appliance Park and GE management – Blankenship had nothing to offer reporters on Wednesday.

“We run as two separate companies right. We are doing integration planning work, which is all we're allowed to do at this stage. No decisions are being made,” Blankenship said.

In fact, federal anti-trust rules prevent GE and Electrolux from collaborating too closely before the sale is closed, Blankenship said.

“As we stand right now, we're competitors in the marketplace and we don't share anything with what's going on in the market or in the industry,” Blankenship said. “We're focused on delivering for our current company, and all we can say is that Electrolux still believes in this deal; we still believe in this deal. It's the brightest future possible and we are working to that end.”

Blankenship addressed the Electrolux sale after he helped announce a new manufacturing training program at Jefferson Community and Technical College on Wednesday.

Electrolux CEO Keith McLoughlin, who is based at the company's headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, will be in Louisville on Feb. 17 to speak at the annual dinner of Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce.

McLoughlin will have a “full day” at Louisville Appliance Park and do no interviews with reporters during the trip, said Eloise Hale, a spokeswoman at Electrolux's North American headquarters in Charlotte.

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