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Electrolux Q1 Profits Up 23%


Price hikes and higher
sales helped push Electrolux’s first-quarter earnings up
22.7 percent to 561 million kronor.

Net sales for the three months, ended March 3,1 rose
10.4 percent to a record 25.9 billion kronor, the company
reported, fueled by acquisitions as well as organic growth.

In North America, sales rose 6 percent to 7.1 billion
kronor and operating income was 159 million kronor compared
with a year-ago loss of 71 million kronor.

In a statement, president/CEO Keith McLaughlin
acknowledged that first-quarter majap demand in
North America was “somewhat weaker than we previously
anticipated,” although last year’s cost increases
“made a significant contribution to the improvement in
first-quarter operating income.” Those, plus a further
round of price hikes in February, “will be a key ingredient
to improve earnings in North America during 2012,”
McLaughlin said.

Looking ahead, Electrolux is projecting moderate
improvement in the U.S. market by year’s end, buoyed
by modest growth in the housing market. The company
is also anticipating gradual improvements in its global
pricing and product mix, although the cost of transportation,
sourcing, marketing and raw materials are expected
to rise.

McLaughlin added that the company continues to generate “solid cash flow” — attributable to ongoing
structural efforts to reduce tied-up capital
— which has strengthened its balance sheet
and prepared it for “both the uncertainties and
the opportunities we face in the period ahead.”