Benton Harbor, Mich. - Whirlpool's second-quarter profits soared 163 percent to $205 million on sales of $4.5 billion, up 6 percent year over year.
The company attributed the strong results to tighter cost controls, increased production efficiencies and greater global unit volume growth, which was partially offset by rising fuel and raw-materials costs and a larger mix of lower-priced products.
"We made strong progress towards our long-term value creation goals during the second quarter," said Whirlpool chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig. "Global unit volume growth combined with our ongoing productivity improvements enabled us to expand our operating margins and accelerate profitable growth."
In North America, sales for the three-month period ended June 30 rose 4 percent to $2.5 billion, and operating profit -- including a $33 million benefits concession and excluding the favorable impact of currency fluctuations -- increased nearly 67 percent to $200 million.
Whirlpool said the improvement was primarily the result of cost reduction, productivity initiatives and increased sales volume, partially offset by lower year-over-year product price/mix and higher material and oil-related costs.
Whirlpool's unit volume increased 7 percent in the U.S. during the second quarter, but trailed the industry average of 12 percent for the period.
Looking ahead, the company raised its projection for full-year U.S. industry unit growth to 5 percent, from a previous range of 3 percent to 5 percent.
Nevertheless, Fettig described the global economic environment as "fragile" and "volatile," but said the company is positioned "to effectively manage through these challenges" and deliver a record year of earnings per share.
During the quarter the company launched the following products in the North American market:
- the Maytag Bravos X, a high-efficiency, top-load laundry pair with front-load-like performance;
- a Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator with MicroEtch spill control shelves that eliminate shelf frames, creating wall-to-wall storage with 25 percent more usable shelf space than other Whirlpool side-by-sides, which can help prevent leaks and make cleaning easier;
- the Maytag Performance Series 2000, a front-load laundry pair with more cleaning power to remove tough stains;
- the Amana Green Tea refrigerator in a metallic green color with leaf etching, plus adjustable Spillsaver glass shelves, adjustable door bins, gallon door storage, and a wine rack; and
- electric and gas downdraft cooktops from KitchenAid that eliminate the need for a range hood and provide flexible placement options on kitchen islands or peninsulas.