New Zealand-based white goods manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Appliances Ltd. said Monday its appliances division has performed strongly in the first 4 months of the current financial year.
John Bongard, managing director, said earnings met the company's expectations, with sales in New Zealand remaining strong despite stiff competition.
Mr. Bongard told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that adjusting prices on selected goods last year has improved its market share in New Zealand.
The company's current financial year ends March 31, 2004.
"In Australia, trading volumes have also been very buoyant," Mr. Bongard said. " All product lines have been selling above expected levels."
He said a high level of activity in the kitchen renovation sector has boosted sales of cooking appliances and dishwashers.
He also said Australia's Minister of Customs has yet to rule on the company's inquiry into dumping of washing machines by Korean manufacturers, but added that a decision is expected soon.
The company also posted growth in sales of dishwashers and washing machines in the U.S. But its Singapore operation suffered from the SARS outbreak. "We are below budget for the first quarter but are now seeing a recovery in the sales volumes," Mr. Bongard said.
He said profit margins since March have been affected by increases in the costs of electricity, insurance premiums and wages.
However, the first-half result is expected to be similar to that in the year- ago period at the earnings before interest and tax level.
Commenting on foreign exchange, Mr. Bongard said the Australian dollar has a greater potential to impact its business.
He said the company is comfortable with the current band of between 88 to 90 Australian cents to the New Zealand dollar, but would prefer it to depreciate further.
The company's finance unit also recorded strong operating performance in the first quarter of the current year, Alastair Macfarlane, the finance division's managing director, said.
Mr. Macfarlane said consumer spending growth and a stable interest rate environment were among factors contributing to the strong performance. (Dow Jones)
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