Benton Harbor, Mich. — Whirlpool said lower unit volume, unfavorable currency rates, and increased material costs and investments impacted sales and profits last quarter.
Net earnings for the world’s largest majap maker fell 10.2 percent to $179 million for the three months, ended June 30, while net sales slipped 1.4 percent to $4.7 billion.
Chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig said the mitigating factors offset benefits from price increases, a greater mix of higher margin products, and ongoing cost and capacity reductions. He also reported record operating profit in the North America unit.
“Overall, the underlying fundamentals of our business remain strong and we continue to invest in our business through innovative new products and acquisitions,” Fettig said. The latter include appliance manufacturers Hefei Rongshida Sanyo of Italy and Italy’s Indesit. Both deals are expected to close by year’s end.
In North America, sales rose 3.8 percent to $2.7 billion, while operating profit rose to a record $285 million, or 10.6 percent of sales, thanks to ongoing cost productivity and cost- and capacity-reduction benefits, which offset higher material costs, the impact of unfavorable foreign exchange rates, and increased investments in marketing, technology and product development.
Looking ahead, Whirlpool expects full-year industry unit shipments to increase by about 5 percent domestically.
During the quarter, the company received the industry’s first Energy Star qualification for clothes dryers; introduced a KitchenAid dishwasher whose ultra-fine filter and optional ProScrub cycle help reduce water usage; added Nest technology to its line of smart laundry products; and introduced Swash, an at-home clothing care system developed with P&G that refreshes, restores and removes wrinkles from apparel.
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