Whirlpool Corp. reported strong increases in earnings and in unit shipments of appliance in the first quarter of 2010, and is increasing its estimated 2010 appliance industry shipments for the markets in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia.
Whirlpool's first-quarter net earnings rose 141% to $164 million, or $2.13 per diluted share, compared to $68 million, or $0.91 per diluted share reported during the same period last year. Sales of $4.3 billion increased 20% from the $3.6 billion reported in the first quarter of 2009. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange translation, the company's first-quarter sales increased approximately 11%.
First-quarter operating profit totaled $241 million compared with $166 million in the prior year. Results were favorably impacted by cost reduction and productivity initiatives, increased sales volume, and favorable foreign currency effects. These favorable factors were partially offset by lower price/mix. First-quarter adjusted operating profit totaled $287 million compared to $126 million in the prior year.
"We are pleased with the strong operational performance we reported in all of our regions," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and chief executive officer of Whirlpool Corporation. "In addition, we are encouraged with the 18% increase in our global unit volumes during the quarter.
"Our results reflect our lower breakeven point, continued innovation investment, and our expanding global product offerings," said Whirlpool Corp. Chairman and CEO Jeff M. Fettig. "By continuing to drive productivity improvements and leveraging our lower breakeven point, we are able to expand our operating margins and accelerate profitable growth."
Whirlpool North America's 1Q sales were $2.3 billion, up 7% from the prior year. North America unit shipments increased 11%. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances increased 6% during the first quarter. Whirlpool expects full-year 2010 U.S. industry unit shipments to increase between 3% and 5% compared to the previous outlook of a 2% to 4% increase.
Whirlpool Europe's 1Q sales were $739 million, up 6% from the prior year; excluding the effects of currency, sales were down approximately 2%. Overall industry unit demand during the quarter was equal to the prior year. The region reported an operating profit of $27 million in the first quarter compared with the breakeven results in 2009. Whirlpool expects full-year 2010 industry unit shipments to be approximately equal to 2009 levels.
Whirlpool Latin America reported record first-quarter net sales of $1.1 billion, an increase of 65% from the prior year. Excluding currency translation, sales increased approximately 40%. Operating profit totaled $167 million in the first quarter compared with $57 million in the prior year. The improvement in profitability is primarily related to higher sales volumes, higher productivity, and favorable foreign currency. Whirlpool anticipates full-year 2010 Brazilian appliance shipments will increase approximately 10% compared to the previous outlook of a 5% to 10% increase.
Whirlpool Asia reported first-quarter sales of $192 million, increasing 60% from the prior year. Excluding the impact of currency, sales increased 49%. Operating profit during the quarter totaled $11 million, an increase of $6 million from 2009. Whirlpool anticipates full-year 2010 industry unit shipments in Asia to be up 5% to 8% compared to the previous expectation of a 3% to 5% increase compared to 2009 levels.
"We are increasing our outlook to reflect our strong first-quarter results and our ongoing productivity initiatives," said Fettig. "While economic uncertainty remains, Whirlpool Corporation is well positioned to substantially grow earnings from prior-year levels. Our innovation pipeline is strong and we continue to make the appropriate investments in our global brand offerings to drive growth across the company. This enables us to meet the needs of more people, nearly everywhere in the world, in more ways than ever before."
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