Maytag Corporation reported fourth-quarter consolidated sales of U.S. $1.16 billion, down 8.4 percent from sales of $1.27 billion in the same period of 2003.
Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2004 was $14.1 million compared to net income of $23.9 million from the same period last year. The fourth quarter of 2004 included 13 weeks, versus 14 weeks in the fourth quarter a year ago.
The fourth quarter included restructuring and related charges for the Galesburg, IL, U.S. plant closure and "One Company" reorganization, as well as reserves related to the early generation front-load washer litigation.
Maytag said unfavorable fourth quarter and year-over-year comparisons were caused primarily by lower Hoover floor care sales and margins and lower sales of vending equipment in its commercial products segment, along with higher steel and energy-related costs.
For the full year 2004, Maytag's sales were $4.72 billion, down 1.5 percent from $4.79 billion in 2003. Net loss for 2004 was $9 million or 11 cents per share, versus net income of $120.1 million, or $1.53 per share in 2003.
Maytag Services and Maytag International experienced double-digit revenue growth during 2004. Weakness in the vending industry produced a sales decline in Commercial Products, partially offset by improved performance in the Jade commercial cooking business, the company said.
Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph Hake noted that the company experienced sequential volume growth in the floor care business in the fourth quarter, particularly with extractors and hard-floor cleaners.
The company is lowering its earnings guidance for 2005 as a result of lower revenue generation in the fourth quarter 2004 and recent distribution announcements that occurred in January. The company expects reported earnings per share in 2005 of $1.10 to $1.30, including about $0.05 in restructuring charges, down from $1.50 to $1.60 per share including about $0.05 in restructuring charges.
"It's not business as usual for Maytag," Mr. Hake said. "We're a leaner organization that's becoming more responsive on all levels. We expect to benefit in the coming year from our 'One Company' cost reductions and our stream of innovative products, including the new Maytag 27-inch washer and dryer, Jenn-Air suite of reflective glass appliances, the FloorMate(TM) hard floor cleaner, and a premium upright introduction, among others.
"As we work through the first quarter, we also expect to benefit from favorable pricing initiatives, which were announced late last year," he added.
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