"Our strategy is working," declared Electrolux President and CEO Hans Straberg today as the Stockholm, Sweden-based appliance company posted its best results in years. This included its highest-ever sales of SEK 103.8 billion (approx. U.S. $14.9 billion), compared to SEK 100.7 billion (approx. $14.5 billion) in 2005. "The Electrolux strategy of developing new, innovative products, building a strong brand and creating a competitive cost foundation is beginning to yield results."
Straberg said all the company's business areas showed increased results over the previous year and he credited new, exciting products with making a crucial contribution to the success of 2006.
"Europe, which went through a difficult time at the beginning of the year due to the strike in Nuremberg, Germany, improved its operating margin from 5.9 percent to 6.1 percent," Straberg said. "In spite of an economic flattening in the end of the year and increasing costs for raw materials, North America achieved a somewhat better result than in 2005, and in Latin America, Electrolux reached an operating margin of 4.4 percent, the highest in 10 years. In addition, Electrolux Professional products reported its best quarter in 5 years, and floor care operations demonstrated that they are nearly back to the profitability levels they had before the dramatic decrease of 2003."
Spinning off the Husqvarna outdoor power equipment business in mid-2006 helped Electrolux focus on its core business of consumer and professional indoor products, Straberg said.
"Operating income for the fourth quarter reached a record level," Straberg noted. "In 2006, we decreased the gap to our competitors and we have come closer to our first profitability target - margins on a par with the industry average."
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