Showing confidence in itself and the industry as a whole, Whirlpool, through its board, boosted its stock buyback authorization fourfold, from the $250 million approved for purchases starting in the first quarter to $1 billion for a period extending through the first quarter of next year.
"We believe that the current valuation of our stock inadequately reflects both the current financial performance of our company, as well as the performance we expect to deliver for the year 2000 and beyond," said CEO David Whitwam. He said the company's strong financial position enables it to internally fund both the share repurchase program and its global growth plans.
Whirlpool is now the world's largest selling brand of major appliances with "a global market share position 40% larger than our closest competitor," Whitwam said.
In North America, he said, Whirlpool continues to outperform the industry, which had a 5% growth in shipments of core products. "This performance supports the company's expectation that North American appliance industry shipments for full-year 2000 will be up 2% to 3% from record 1999 levels."
Industrywide shipments this year, he said, are seen rising 4%-5% in Europe, 7%-10% in Latin America and 8%-10% in Asia. "Our global appliance industry outlook, combined with the early evidence from our market-leading North American operations, gives us solid confidence in our future performance," Whitwam concluded.