Electrolux AB reported a loss of 474 million kronor (approx. US$57 million) in 4Q 2008. The company said earnings were also hurt by weaker demand, higher costs for raw materials, and temporary shutdowns of production. However, sales for the quarter saw a boost from favorable exchange rates and rose to 28.7 billion from 27.6 billion in 4Q 2007.
Group Chief Executive Hans Sträberg said his company had had a "difficult 2008 and 2009 will not be easier," and added he didn't see any short-term market improvement. Despite this, he said Electrolux is well prepared once demand picks up again, saying a rapid change in demand creates opportunities the group has the right structure and products to take advantage of.
He also said that the company continues to show strength in Latin America and in its Professional Products. In addition, he said, "Within the Group we have implemented a wage freeze for 2009, and the Board has chosen to recommend not to pay a dividend to our shareholders for 2008. For many years, our shareholders have received high returns, in the form of normal dividends, repurchase of shares and redemption programs. It is obviously a tough decision to break a long trend of solid dividend growth, but this proposition is logical considering the great uncertainty in the market in 2009 and our cash commitments related to restructuring activities."
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