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Whirlpool Q4: Sales Up, Earnings Down

BENTON HARBOR, MICH. – Higher material costs, unfavorable currency fluctuations and the impact of product transitions took a bite out of Whirlpool’s fourth-quarter profits.

Net earnings fell 55 percent to $81 million for the three months, ended Dec. 31, 2014, while net sales rose nearly 18 percent to a record $6 billion, and increased about 22 percent excluding the impact of foreign currency and Brazilian tax credits.

In North America, net sales were up 3.7 percent to $2.8 billion while operating profit was $255 million, or 9 percent of sales, down from 11 percent of sales last year, as the impact of product transitions, higher material costs and unfavorable currency offset higher unit sales and increased cost productivity.

During the quarter Whirlpool’s new HybridCare heat pump dryer earned a CES Best of Innovation Award in the SmartHome category, and was an Innovations Award honoree in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies category.

For the full year, Whirlpool’s profits fell 21.4 percent to $650 million on net sales of nearly $19.9 billion, an increase of 6 percent.

In a statement, chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig said, “We delivered another record year of earnings while building an exceptional platform for profitable growth and margin expansion for 2015 and beyond. Our integration activities remain on track to drive synergies and we will continue investing in our leading brands and the next generation of consumer relevant products.”

Looking ahead, Whirlpool is projecting an increase in full-year unit shipments of 4 to 6 percent industrywide in North America.

Added Fettig: “We are committed to executing our growth strategy and have created multiple opportunities to achieve our long-term goals. Our larger global operating platform, competitive cost structure, preferred brands and broad product offerings will benefit consumers around the world and create significant value for our shareholders.”