At a financial community conference hosted today by Maytag Corporation chairman and CEO Ralph F. Hake outlined the company's strategy for continued growth and improved financial performance.
Mr. Hake said, "The development and introduction of innovative new products under our preferred brands will continue to drive profitable, sustainable growth."
Citing several recently introduced products, such as Maytag's three-rack, tall-tub dishwasher and the Hoover WindTunnel V2 upright vacuum cleaner, he added, "Our 2003 pipeline includes innovative new products in laundry, floor care, cooking and refrigeration, which will augment a number of important product line extensions already in the plans for next year.
"In addition, we will explore new opportunities to license our brands, as we did recently in heating and air conditioning systems. For Maytag, there is still ample growth potential in selected geographic areas and additional opportunities to expand our product service activities."
Beyond these growth initiatives, Mr. Hake emphasized that the company will continue to improve both quality and cost structure through a combination of its LeanSigma program, product redesign, and strategic sourcing. Steven H. Wood, Maytag's executive vice president and CFO, discussed this year's strong financial performance and reaffirmed that the company's expectations for 2002 income from continuing operations will improve about 65 percent from the comparable $1.77 per share in 2001.
"This year," he said, "our strong cash flow generation will allow us to reduce debt by approximately $200 million, make $135 million in voluntary contributions to our pension fund, and invest $225 million in our business, primarily for new product development."
Adding that he anticipates some pressure next year from higher steel prices and higher pension and post-retirement medical expense, Mr. Wood said ongoing cost-saving initiatives and a strong line-up of new product introductions will enable Maytag to meet these challenges.
"At this point, our goal is to increase revenues 7 to 10 percent in 2003," Mr. Wood said. "That translates into expected 2003 cash flow strong enough to support $240 million in capital investments, to cut debt by $100 million and to fund $160 million in voluntary pension contributions."
Mr. Wood also reaffirmed Maytag's 2003 range for income from continuing operations as $3.10 to $3.20 per share, excluding any special charges.
Among the other Maytag executives in attendance at the conference to discuss various aspects of the company's operations were William L. Beer, president of Maytag Appliances; Keith G. Minton, president of Hoover; Thomas A. Briatico, president of Dixie-Narco; Kenneth Boyle, vice president of Strategic Initiatives; and Art Learmonth, senior vice president, Supply Chain for Maytag Appliances.
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