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Whirlpool Q2 Sales Increase 9.2%

Benton Harbor, Mich. — Ongoing strong momentum in Whirlpool’s North American business, as well as strong demand in all markets, helped the major appliance maker post a 9.2 percent increase in second quarter sales, hitting $3.3 billion, up from nearly $3 billion in the year-ago period.

However, rising material costs, material availability and transportation constraints put a damper on Whirlpool’s second-quarter earnings. Net earnings for the period, ended June 30, reached $106 million, compared with $94 million the previous year. Excluding currency translations, sales increased about 8 percent.

Whirlpool said overall sales and unit shipments were a second-quarter record.

In North America, sales increased 6.9 percent to $2.1 billion, while sales and unit shipments reached record levels for the region. Operating profit was a second quarter record, said Whirlpool, increasing 6.9 percent from the prior-year period. Effective brand and product mix management and continued strong levels of manufacturing productivity contributed to the profit improvement.

U.S. industry majap unit shipments rose 9.3 percent in the second quarter, year-on-year, said Whirlpool. The company expects full-year U.S. industry shipments to increase 5 percent to 6 percent from last year’s level.

In what Whirlpool called a “challenging operating environment,” first half sales increased 9.9 percent to $6.3 billion from $5.7 billion. Excluding currency translations, sales increased by about 7 percent year-to-date.

For the six months, net earnings edged upward to $207 million from $185 million in the same time frame in 2003.

The company announced plans to invest about $180 million in its North American operations for the “continued development and introduction of innovative products.” About $100 million of the investment will fund initiatives at seven plants in the United States.