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Whirlpool, Electrolux See U.S. Challenges


Whirlpool and Electrolux both reported
higher profits for the quarter, ended Dec. 31,
2010, but the suppliers said that the U.S. market
continues to be a challenge.

Whirlpool reported higher net sales and net earnings
for the fourth quarter and full year.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $5.04 billion,
up from the prior year’s $4.86 billion. Net earnings
for the year were $171 million, up dramatically from
the prior year’s $95 million.

For the calendar year, net sales and earnings
gains were also impressive given the economy and
competitive pressures. Net sales were $18.36 billion,
up from the prior year’s $17.09 billion. Net earnings
were $619 million, almost doubling the prior
year’s $328 million.

However, for Whirlpool North America, fourthquarter
results were not as robust. Sales of $2.6 billion
decreased 1 percent from the prior year. North
America unit shipments increased approximately 5
percent. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances
increased 4 percent during the fourth quarter.

The North America region reported operating profit
of $53 million compared with $136 million in the previous
year. Fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit
totaled $43 million compared with $145 million.

Results in the region were unfavorably impacted
by lower product price/mix, higher material costs
and lower production volume. These factors were
partially offset by cost reduction and productivity
initiatives and lower incentive compensation.

Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO, commented,
“As we enter 2011, we remain focused on delivering
higher margin innovations, realizing significant
cost productivity, and achieving profitable growth
driven by some recovery in demand in the developed economies and by continued strong growth in
many emerging markets. In 2011, we expect to
expand our operating margins despite significant
global inflation and generate good levels
of free cash flow and further strengthen our financial

Electrolux reported slightly higher profits for
the fourth quarter on slightly lower sales.

For the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2010, Electrolux
reported net sales of 27.6 billion Swedish
kronors, down 2 percent from the same time
last year.

Income was 677 million Swedish kronors, up
2 percent from the final quarter of the prior year.

Strong sales growth in Asia/Pacific and Latin
America offset lower sales volume in Europe
and North America.

During the fourth quarter, demand for core
appliances was up 2 percent in North America.
For the entire year demand increased 5 percent
after “a very low level after more than three years
of decline,” the company said. Growth was due
in part to the major appliance rebate program
instituted in the U.S. during 2010.