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Whirlpool Cleans Up In Q1

Whirlpool ended its first quarter of the year on a head of steam locally, with sales in North America up 7 percent, to $2.6 billion, excluding currency fluctuations.

Company chairman/CEO Jeff Fettig said both North and Latin America enjoyed “strong growth and margin expansion” for the three months, ended March 31.

First-quarter GAAP operating profit (generally accepted accounting principles) totaled $287 million, or 11.2 percent of sales, for the North America division, compared with $253 million, or 10.5 percent of sales, year over year.

Whirlpool said unit volume growth and cost productivity more than offset higher raw materials costs.

Looking ahead, the global majap powerhouse is projecting full-year industry unit shipments to increase by 4 to 6 percent in the U.S.

Worldwide, Whirlpool’s net sales increased 3 percent for the quarter, to $4.8 billion, excluding the effects of currency fluctuations, and net earnings edged up 2 percent, to $153 million, as weakness in the U.K. and integration indigestion from its $1 billion buyout of Italy’s Indesit weighed on the results.

Added president/COO Marc Bitzer: “Our strong performance in North America and Latin America clearly demonstrates our ability to create value in challenging environments.”