Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd., New Zealand's largest home appliance maker, said first-half profit fell 1.2 percent because of declined sales in large markets and high costs for steel and plastic.
Net income in the 6-month period ended Sept. 30, 2004 was NZ $34.5 million (approx. U.S. $24 million) compared to NZ $34.9 million (approx. $23.9 million) a year earlier. Sales rose 9 percent to NZ $469 million (approx. $322 million).
Fisher & Paykel reported that profit in its appliance unit fell 8.2 percent to NZ $39.1 million (approx. $26.8 million) in the 6-month period. Appliances revenue rose 1.4 percent to NZ $408.6 million (approx. U.S. $280.2 million). New Zealand appliance sales fell 1 percent to NZ $115.3 million (approx. $79 million) and dropped 5.1 percent to NZ $183.4 million (approx. $125.8 million) in New Zealand. U.S. sales increased 28.5 percent to NZ $89.5 million (approx. $61.4 million).
Fisher & Paykel said full-year profit may fall as much as 12 percent as steel and plastic costs remain high and sales slow in Australia and New Zealand, where it receives 73 percent of appliance revenue. Consequently, the company said it plans to increase prices in the U.S. and other markets by 5 percent.
Measured by sales volumes, the company's Australian sales fell 3.4 percent to 302,300, New Zealand sales fell 2.1 percent to 150,900, and U.S. sales rose 35 percent to 97,700 units.
In other news, the company said it will sell components and license its technology to Whirlpool Corp., generating annual sales of NZ $35 million to NZ $40 million (approx. U.S. $24 million to $27.4 million).
The agreement to supply components, which extends an existing alliance with Michigan-based Whirlpool, will start in late 2005, Auckland-based Fisher & Paykel said in a statement to the New Zealand stock exchange.
Fisher & Paykel said it expects to spend NZ $25 million (approx. $17.1 million) to expand capacity to supply the components for 5 years. Under its existing agreement, Fisher & Paykel will supply its DishDrawer dishwashers to be sold under the Whirlpool brand this year. (Bloomberg)
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