Whirlpool Posts Record Q4 Sales
Feb 3, 2004
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Appliance maker Whirlpool Corporation (Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.) announced fourth-quarter 2003 results, with net earnings of U.S. $125 million, or $1.76 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $29 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the same period in 2002.

Fourth-quarter net sales of $3.36 billion increased 14 percent from the prior-year period. Excluding currency translations, net sales increased approximately 7 percent. For the full year, net sales of $12.18 billion increased 10.5 percent from 2002.

"Our consolidated global businesses delivered solid earnings," said David R. Whitwam, Whirlpool's chairman and CE0, adding that substantial improvements in sales and productivity within the company's North American and European operations were reflected in the fourth-quarter and full-year results.

"Entering 2004, we see positive economic trends and the continuing momentum of our brands in Whirlpool's key markets worldwide," Mr. Whitwam said. "We expect full-year earnings for 2004 to be in the range of $6.20 to $6.35 per share. This improvement is based on our forecast of gradually improving global economic conditions, increased consumer demand for Whirlpool's innovative products and services, and benefits from our ongoing operational focus on business productivity."

For 2003, the company reported net earnings of $414 million, or $5.91 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $394 million, or $5.68 per diluted share, in 2002. The 2002 loss included charges totaling $11.75 per diluted share.

The company's North American fourth-quarter sales of $2.1 billion increased 7.6 percent from the same period in 2002. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances increased 8.1 percent from the same period in 2002, said to be driven by the continued strength of consumer spending. Based on current economic conditions, the company expects U.S. appliance industry unit shipments to increase 2 percent in 2004.

Whirlpool's Europe fourth-quarter sales of $794 million increased 27.4 percent from 2002. Reflecting improving GDP growth and consumer demand throughout most of the region, the company said its unit volume increased 9 percent and sales improved across all brands, especially the Whirlpool brand. Fourth-quarter appliance industry unit shipments increased approximately 4 to 5 percent from the same period in 2002. The company said it expects industry shipments in 2004 to increase approximately 3 percent.

The company's Latin American sales of $403 million increased 27.8 percent in the fourth quarter 2003 from the same period in 2002. Excluding currency translations, sales increased approximately 9 percent. Difficult macroeconomic conditions in Brazil continued to negatively affect consumer demand and market pricing. The company expects that economic and market conditions in Brazil will continue to stabilize and moderately improve in 2004. Fourth-quarter appliance industry unit shipments were flat compared to the prior-year period. Based on current economic conditions, the company expects full-year industry unit shipments in 2004 to increase 5 to 10 percent.

Whirlpool Asia's sales of $115 million increased 6.5 percent from the same period in 2002. Based on current economic conditions, the company expects full-year industry unit shipments in 2004 to increase approximately 5 to 10 percent.

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