BENTON HARBOR, MICH. —
Whirlpool reported higher net earnings and sales for the first quarter ended March 31.
Net earnings were $169 million compared to $164 million reported during the same period last year.
Sales of $4.4 billion increased 3 percent from the $4.3 billion reported in the first quarter of 2010.
First-quarter operating profit totaled $228 million compared with $241 million in the prior year.
“Our first quarter results reflect our ongoing cost reduction efforts and continued innovation investments, which helped to mitigate significant material cost inflation,” said Jeff Fettig, chairman/CEO of Whirlpool.
For Whirlpool North America first-quarter sales of $2.3 billion increased slightly from the prior year. North America unit shipments increased approximately 4 percent. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances decreased approximately 1 percent during the first quarter.
The North America region reported operating profit of $59 million compared to $94 million in the previous year. First-quarter 2011 adjusted operating profit totaled $52 million compared to $140 million in 2010. Results were favorably impacted by cost reduction and productivity initiatives and foreign exchange fluctuations. These factors were offset by lower product price/mix and higher material costs.
Based on the current economic outlook, the company continues to expect full-year 2011 U.S. industry unit shipments to increase between 2 percent and 3 percent.
Looking ahead, Fettig said, “We have implemented cost-based price increases in many regions around the world, continue to introduce a strong cadence of innovative new products and remain focused on accelerating our cost reduction and productivity improvements to manage higher material cost inflation.”
During the quarter the company introduced a Whirlpool- branded induction cooktop; a Maytag Maxima high-capacity front-load laundry pair with LCD displays; and a four-door refrigerator under the KitchenAid brand with an oversized refrigerated drawer with adjustable temperature settings.