Benton Harbor, Mich. - Record productivity and cost cutting during the third quarter — augmented by successful selling of higher priced, more profitable products — pushed up Whirlpool net income nearly 5 percent, to $105 million, compared with $101 million in the same three months a year ago.
Consolidated third quarter sales at the majap maker climbed 12.8 percent, hitting $3.1 billion, up from $2.8 billion in the same quarter in 2002.
Consolidated operating income of $204 million in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, outpaced the $199 million registered in the year-ago period, which included $16 million in pre-tax expense for restructuring and related activities.
'We believe this earnings performance is solid, given our third-quarter challenge to overcome approximately $24 million from year-over-year increases in U.S. pension costs,' said chairman/CEO David Whitwam. 'Our businesses helped drive this performance with record levels of productivity and significant cost reductions.'
Sales in North America reached $2.03 billion, a 12.1 percent increase over the prior-year period. However, the U.S. segment recorded a 1.8 percent decline in operating profit, due mainly to a $22 million increase in U.S. pension costs, compared to a year earlier.
Whirlpool said U.S. industry majap shipments increased 9.3 percent in the third quarter over the same period a year ago, and that fourth quarter shipments should climb by about 3 percent. Full-year U.S. industry shipment increases are also anticipated at about 3 percent.
For the nine months, consolidated Whirlpool sales increased 9.3 percent, to $8.8 billion, up from $8.1 billion. The company reported net income of $290 million for the nine months, compared with a loss of $364 million in the same time frame in 2002. At the time of the year-ago loss, the company reported a $613 million charge due to accounting changes.