Whirlpool, Electrolux Report Strong Q1 Results

By Alan Wolf On May 3 2010 - 4:01am

NEW YORK — Two of the world’s largest majap makers — Whirlpool and Electrolux — said cost reductions, improved productivity and increased demand fueled strong fi rst-quarter earnings growth, suggesting a rebound for the long-depressed white-goods market.

Whirlpool’s net earnings rose 141 percent to $164 million and net sales increased 11 percent to $4.3 billion for the three months ending March 31, excluding the favorable impact of foreign currency fluctuations.

Sales in North America increased 7 percent year over year to $2.3 billion and regional shipments rose 11 percent, outpacing the U.S. industry average of 6 percent. Operating profit increased 40 percent to $140 million, excluding one-time charges, despite a greater mix of lower-priced products.

Net income for the three months, ended March 31, was $126.4 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $48 million, and net sales rose 4.1 percent to $3.5 billion, excluding the negative impact of currency fluctuations.

At Electrolux, in North America, net sales inched up less than 1 percent to $1.1 billion, excluding the negative impact of currency fluctuations, and operating income skyrocketed more than 300 percent to just less than $50 million.

In a statement, president/CEO Hans Straberg attributed the operating income gains in North America to a better product mix, which was achieved by increasing sales and market share of the company’s Electrolux and Frigidaire brands while phasing out unprofitable low-volume private-label lines, ostensibly for Sears.

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