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Whirlpool Posts Higher Q1 Profits, Flat Sales

Benton Harbor, Mich. — Whirlpool reported higher net earnings and flat sales in the first quarter, ended March 31.

GAAP net earnings were $252 million, compared with net earnings of $92 million share reported during the same period last year, which were driven by continued favorable product price and mix and the benefit of cost- and capacity-reduction initiatives, the company said.

Sales in the quarter were $4.2 billion, compared with $4.3 billion reported during the same period last year. Excluding the impact of both foreign currency and Brazilian (BEFIEX) tax credits, sales were flat to the prior year.

“The first-quarter results were in line with our expectations and continue to reflect our actions to expand margins, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year operating margin improvement,” said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool.

“We expect to see moderately higher revenue growth, due to continued strength in U.S. housing and improving demand trends internationally, and we are on track to deliver our operating profit margin, earnings and free cash flow guidance for the year,” Fettig commented in a statement.

First-quarter GAAP operating profit totaled $254 million, compared with $204 million in the prior year. Continued positive product price and mix and the benefit of cost and capacity-reduction initiatives positively impacted results during the quarter, Whirlpool said.

For Whirlpool North America first-quarter sales were $2.2 billion, essentially flat from the previous year. The North American region reported operating profit of $218 million, or 9.7 percent of sales, compared to $151 million in the prior year, or 6.7 percent of sales.

Continued favorable product price and mix and cost- and capacity-reduction actions positively impacted the quarter. The company continues to expect full-year 2013 U.S. industry unit shipments to increase in the range of 2 to 3 percent, Whirlpool said.