Maytag Corporation reaffirmed its business strategies and guidance during the 26th annual Raymond James Institutional Investors Conference in Orlando, FL, U.S., saying that Maytag is a much different company than it was a year ago.
"We are realizing the cost savings from our restructuring," Chairman and CEO Ralph F. Hake commented. "We remain focused on developing preferred brands, creating innovative products, and achieving best-in-class cost and quality."
Mr. Hake said that the One Company initiative Maytag executed in 2004 has transformed the organization into a faster, leaner, and more unified Maytag. "We're customer-focused and more responsive," he explained. "We are a flatter organization with fewer layers. We're shortening the decision-making process and are reducing our time to market."
The company also emphasized innovation, listing several product launches scheduled for the first quarter of 2005, including:
New Maytag(R) Neptune(R) front-loading washers and dryers,
Jenn-Air(R) floating glass appliance suite,
Hoover(R) FloorMate(TM) hard surface floor cleaner, and
Hoover(R) SteamVac(TM) Duo cleaner.
Maytag also said it will look beyond North America as the company expands global sourcing opportunities. "Our design center in China will supplement existing R&D resources, while we further develop our product supply partnerships with Asian companies," Mr. Hake said.
At the conference, Maytag executives reaffirmed plans to achieve improved earnings in 2005, expected by the company to be in the range of U.S. $1.10 to $1.30 per share, including about $0.05 of restructuring charges.
Mr. Hake told analysts that Maytag has already realized $30 million in cost savings and is on track to achieve $150 million in annual savings from restructuring. "In addition to reducing the size of our salaried workforce, we have successfully completed the conversion of our computer systems and integrated our sales and marketing teams," he added.
The company also said that two Maytag businesses continue to grow at double-digit rates. Maytag International grew 13 percent in 2004 and is expanding its product line up, entering new markets and adding Maytag Stores in Canada and Mexico. Another bright spot is Maytag Services, which had 27-percent growth in 2004.
George Moore, Maytag's executive vice president and CFO, said aggressive cost-saving initiatives and appliance pricing increases are expected to offset steel and fuel cost increases, which continue to pressure profitability. He expects material costs to be an on-going challenge in 2005.
to Daily News