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U.S. industry shipments of core major appliances increased in volume by about 9 percent in the second quarter and about 10 percent in the first half, said giant European majap maker Electrolux.
When the company includes air conditioners and microwave ovens in its U.S. figures, shipments still increased by about 9 percent in the second quarter, but only by about 7 percent for the entire six months. Sales of air conditioners were considerably lower than last year and operating income in this product area showed a marked downturn, according to the company.
With the U.S. market showing a somewhat stronger upturn than expected, North American sales of majaps increased to $1.6 billion in the second quarter, up from $1.5 billion in the year-ago period. For the six months, sales moved up to $3.1 billion, from $2.9 billion.
Benefiting from an upturn in demand for majaps as well as floor-care products in North America, Electrolux reported operating income of $145.1 million in North America in the second quarter, up from $74.3 million in the same three months in 2001. For the six months, North American operating income climbed to $240.1 million, compared with $161.8 million in the same period last year.
Operating margin for consumer durables in North America nearly doubled in the latest three months, from 4.9 percent in the second quarter of 2001, to 8.9 percent in the second quarter just ended. For the six months, operating margin hit 7.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent in the same period last year.
Electrolux, claiming an improved North American mix of appliances in the second quarter, due to a larger proportion of new products, said production in two U.S. refrigerator factories normalized by the end of 2001, and that the company had gained market share lost last year. Also, it said it had succeeded in increasing its share in the higher end side-by-side refrigerator segment, an area it had lacked suitable products in the past.
Enjoying higher demand in the United States, but a somewhat weaker market in Europe, Electrolux reported an overall downturn in sales for the second quarter, coming in at $4 billion, compared with $4.1 billion in the year-ago period. For the six months, overall sales were relatively flat at $7.68 billion, down from $7.71 billion year over year.
Income, excluding charges that affect comparability, reached $292.1 million in the second quarter, up from $190 million in the same three months in 2001. For the six months, income hit $486.9 million, up from $352.5 million the previous year.
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