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Electrolux N.A. Sales Up 2.3%

2/15/2005 08:27:00 AM Eastern

Stockholm, Sweden — White goods led a “strong” fourth quarter for Electrolux in North America, as launches of new products contributed to a positive trend in price/mix for the full year.

Fourth-quarter net sales for the major appliance maker in North America edged upward 2.3 percent, hitting $1.10 billion, up from $1.07 billion in the year-ago period. Operating income, however, slipped 6.6 percent, reaching $46.1 million, down from $49.4 million in the same three months in 2003, due to higher costs for materials and increased investment in product innovations and brand building.

In comparable currency, fourth-quarter sales in North America moved up 11.2 percent, while operating income decreased less than 1 percent.

Industry shipments of majaps in North America, said Electrolux, increased 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 8 percent for the 12 months. Industry shipments of the product group that includes room air conditioners and microwave ovens climbed 10 percent in the fourth quarter and 6 percent for the full year.

For the 12 months, Electrolux North American sales decreased 4.6 percent to $4.4 billion, from $4.6 billion in 2003. Operating income declined 30.1 percent to $158 million, from $226.1 million the previous year. In comparable currency, 12-month sales in North America increased 4.2 percent, while operating income dropped 24.6 percent.

Electrolux consolidated sales in the fourth quarter inched upward 1.1 percent, reaching $4.1 billion, compared with $4 billion in the same period in 2003. The increase is attributed to a positive trend in volume/price mix, which compensated for negative effects from changes in exchange rates.

Operating income was off 31 percent, coming in at $162.4 million, compared with a year-earlier $235.4 million. This includes items affecting comparability in the amount of $42.7 million, as well as a $41.3 million charge. When items affecting comparability are factored in, fourth-quarter consolidated operating income dipped 17.1 percent to $205.1 million, down from $247.5 million year-on-year.

Net income was $104 million in the fourth quarter, 36.9 percent lower than the $164.8 million reported in the same three months the previous year. When items affecting comparability are included, fourth-quarter net income was off 24.6 percent to $133.4 million from a year-ago $177 million.

For the 12 months, Electrolux consolidated sales slipped 2.8 percent to $17.2 billion from a year-over-year $17.7 billion. The decrease was due to changes in exchange rates and divestments, while changes in volume/price mix had a positive effect.

Net income dropped 34.1 percent to $449.6 million, from $682.5 million in 2003. On a comparable currency basis, net income was down 15.4 percent, reaching $633.5 million from a year-ago $748.6 million.