With its North American Frigidaire major appliance business leading the way, Sweden's Electrolux reported higher sales and a significant increase in operating earnings for the second quarter and first half.
For the quarter Electrolux posted a net of $136 million, off 3.4% from the same period last year, while sales rose 2.2% to $3.79 billion. First-half earnings of $241 million were up 10.7% on a 1.9% revenue increase to $7.13 billion. Excluding special items, Electrolux said, pretax operating income was up 29% in the quarter and 25% for the half.
The company reported operating earnings from worldwide appliance operations jumped 48.3% to $139 million in the quarter and 34.5% to $261 million for the half, as sales for those respective periods increased 4.1% to $2.57 billion and 2.4% to $4.9 billion.
In the U.S., Electrolux said, major appliance sales were up about 9% for the quarter and 8% for the half, and the business enjoyed "strong growth in volume, as well as improved operating income and margins." Additionally, the U.S. market had significant increases in sales of room air conditioners and floor care products.
In contrast, Electrolux said its appliance business had lower earnings on modestly higher sales in Europe and lower sales but a reduced loss in Brazil. Sales in Asia increased, while the loss there decreased.
Looking at the second half, CEO Michael Treschow said, "We expect demand in North America to remain good during the rest of the year, although growth in such areas as white goods will probably be lower than in the first half."
With expected improvement in Europe, stability in the U.S. and the finalization of Electrolux's two-year restructuring program, Treschow said, the company "expect[s] to achieve an increase in income for the whole of 1999 as well."