Whirlpool today said 2006 annual earnings per share from continuing operations were U.S. $6.35 per diluted share, compared to $6.19 per diluted share in the previous year. Annual sales of $18.1 billion increased 26 percent from the prior year, reflecting the acquisition of Maytag Corporation as well as global demand for Whirlpool brands. Strong cash flow provided by continuing operations of $880 million enabled the company to reduce post-acquisition debt from $3 billion to $2.3 billion.
Whirlpool Corporation, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S., said fourth-quarter net sales increased 25 percent from the prior year to a record $5 billion, driven primarily from the acquisition and strong international growth. Net earnings from continuing operations for the company’s fourth quarter, which include the operating results, integration costs and purchase accounting impact from the Maytag acquisition, were $133 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, compared to $126 million, or $1.83 per diluted share reported during the previous year.
Whirlpool completed the sale of Dixie-Narco vending systems during the fourth quarter and completed the sales of the Hoover floor-care business on January 31, 2007, and said no gain or loss is associated with either transaction. The fourth-quarter financial results for Hoover, Dixie-Narco and Jade are included in discontinued operations. Total net earnings for the fourth quarter, including discontinued operations, were $109 million, or $1.37 per diluted share.
Net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter reflected continued strong performance across the company’s international businesses as well as lower income tax, restructuring and sundry expense.
“Fourth-quarter margins were negatively affected by lower industry demand in the United States and higher material prices. We expect to benefit from the ramp up of acquisition efficiencies, new product introductions to revitalize the Maytag brand, continued improvements in our international operations and product innovation during 2007," said Whirlpool Chairman and CEO Jeff M. Fettig.
“We remain well positioned to realize significant efficiencies in excess of $400 million from the Maytag acquisition by 2008 and continue to execute plans to revitalize Maytag’s product offering and growth during 2007,” said Fettig. “Current demand trends in the United States are expected to be down during the first half of the year and improve during the second half. We expect our strong international performance momentum to continue this year, and expect the benefits from acquisition efficiencies and Maytag new product introductions in our U.S. business to accelerate during the second half of 2007."
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