Whirlpool Corp. announced that full-year 2007 earnings from continuing operations were US$8.10 per diluted share, up 28% from the $6.35 per diluted share reported in the same period last year. The company reported record annual net sales of $19.4 billion, an increase of 7% from the prior year.
Fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $187 million increased 41% to a record $2.38 per diluted share compared to $133 million, or $1.67 per diluted share reported during the previous year's quarter. Revenue of $5.3 billion for the quarter increased more than 7% from the $5.0 billion reported in the fourth quarter of 2006.
"The year was filled with significant challenges and opportunities," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO. "We delivered record financial results in the face of both the most challenging U.S. industry demand environment in more than two decades and unprecedented global material price inflation. Our performance in this environment highlights the strength of our global brands and the geographic diversity of our global operating platform. During 2007, we completed the integration of the largest acquisition in the company's history, introduced a continuous cadence of new global product innovation, and delivered record international results."
Net earnings for the quarter reflected continued strong momentum within the company's international business and significantly higher operating profit performance within North America. Operating profit increased 74% to $332 million and operating profit margins expanded 2.4% from the previous year.
Whirlpool North America fourth-quarter sales of $3.0 billion declined less than 1% from the prior year as industry unit shipments of major appliances declined approximately 6%. Operating profit of $175 million increased 41% from the previous year period and operating profit margins increased from 4.0% to 5.7%. Based on current economic conditions, the company expects full-year 2008 U.S. industry unit shipments to decline approximately 3% to 5%.
Whirlpool Europe reported record fourth-quarter and full-year revenue and operating profit. Fourth-quarter revenue increased 12% to $1.1 billion. Excluding the effects of currency, revenues were unchanged. Overall industry demand during the quarter declined approximately 1% from the prior year. Based on current economic conditions in Europe, the company expects full- year 2008 industry unit shipments to be flat versus 2007 levels.
Whirlpool Latin America reported record fourth-quarter and full-year revenue and operating profit during 2007. Sales improved approximately 30% to more than $1.0 billion during the quarter, driven by robust appliance industry growth, strong demand for the region's market leading brands and cost-based price increases. Excluding currency translation, sales for appliances and compressors increased approximately 12%. Industry unit shipments of appliances increased approximately 11% during the quarter. Based on current economic conditions, the company expects full-year 2008 appliance industry shipments to increase 5 percent to 8% throughout the Latin America region.
Whirlpool Asia reported quarterly sales of $155 million, increasing 26% from the prior year. Excluding the impact of currency, sales increased approximately 13% largely driven by the benefits of new product introductions and an improved product mix in India. The region reported an operating loss of $4 million during the quarter. The company expects full-year 2008 appliance industry shipments to increase 5% to 10%.
"We expect the macroeconomic challenges related to material cost increases and lower U.S. and European demand to continue in 2008," said Fettig. "We will offset increasing material and oil-related costs through cost-based pricing adjustments and productivity improvements. In addition, we are adjusting our cost structure to the lower expected industry demand levels. These actions combined with our strong portfolio of brands, continuous flow of innovation and increased brand support should enable us to overcome the negative economic environment and deliver improved results for our shareholders."