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Electrolux '01 Sales Dip 1%

2/08/2002 02:09:00 PM Eastern

Stockholm, Sweden - With demand for products weakening in North America during 2001, major appliances and floor-care maker Electrolux said its industry shipments of core appliances to the United States declined by about 1 percent, compared with 2000.

Shipments of major appliacnes, including room air conditioners and microwave ovens, also declined by about 1 percent.

In the fourth quarter, however, Electrolux turned business around a bit, reporting U.S. shipments rose by about 6 percent for both core appliances and major appliacnes, compared with a weak fourth quarter in the year-ago period.

Market demand in 2002 is expected to be generally flat, compared with the previous year in North America. And there is still uncertainty regarding consumer confidence and spending, particularly in North America, said Electrolux.

Group sales of appliances in North America through Electrolux Home Products decreased in 2001, primarily due to lower volume of refrigerators. Destocking at retail, particularly during the first half of the year, also had a negative impact on sales, said Electrolux.

In the fourth quarter, sales of Consumer Durables to North America hit $871.6 million, somewhat flat with the $858.2 million reported in the same quarter in 2000. For the 12 months, Consumer Durables sales to North America reached $4.41 billion, again flat, when compared with the $4.39 billion recorded the previous year.

Operating income showed a marked decline in 2001 as a result of lower volumes and substantial non-recurring costs related to the phase-in of a new generation of refrigerators. Delivery failures and costs for additional personnel and overtime within the refrigerator division had a total negative effect on income of about $100 million.

Operating income for Consumer Durables in North America dropped to $12.6 million in the fourth quarter, down from $60.4 million in the year-ago three months. For the 12 months, operating income for Consumer Durables in North America hit $171.1 million, down from $337.3 million in 2000.

Overall sales of white goods, part of the Electrolux Consumer Durables segment, which also includes floor-care products and garden equipment, totaled $7.8 billion in 2001, up from $6.9 billion in 2000. The white goods share of total Consumer Durables segment sales was 75.9 percent in 2001, up from 74 percent the previous year.

With demand for floor-care products rising slightly in the United States, the overall floor-care business end of the Consumer Durables segment hit $901.9 million in 2001, up from $814.2 million in 2000. Floor-care products held down an 8.8 percent share of total Consuemr Durables segment sales in both 2001 and 2000.

Overall Electrolux sales reached $3 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $2.8 billion in the year-ago three months. The company took an operating loss of $4.6 million in the fourth quarter, compared with operating income of $119.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2000. Electrolux also recorded a net loss of $27 million in the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $70 million in the year-ago period.

For the 12 months, overall Electrolux sales hit $12.8 billion, up from $11.7 billion in 2000. Operating income dropped to $592.3 million for the 12 months, down from $716.9 million the previous year. Net income dipped to $365 million in 2001, down from $420.2 million in 2000.

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