BENTON HARBOR, MI -- Whirlpool Corporation has announced first-quarter net earnings of $169 million, compared to $164 million during the same period last year.
First-quarter operating profit totaled $228 million compared with $241 million in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, first quarter 2011 operating profit totaled $221 million compared to $287 million in 2010. Results were favorably impacted by cost reduction and productivity initiatives, increased monetization of certain tax credits, and higher unit volume. These favorable factors were offset by lower product price/mix and higher material and oil-related costs.
"Our first quarter results reflect our ongoing cost reduction efforts and continued innovation investments, which helped to mitigate significant material cost inflation," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and chief executive officer of Whirlpool Corporation. "We recently announced a 16% dividend increase, reflective of the success of our brand value creation strategy and our strong financial position. We remain committed to attracting and retaining consumers to our brands, providing excellent service and value to our trade customers and consumers while driving lower costs and higher quality across our global operations."
First-Quarter Regional Review
Whirlpool North America
First-quarter sales of $2.3 billion increased slightly from the prior year. North America unit shipments increased approximately 4 percent. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances decreased approximately 1 percent during the first quarter.
The North America region reported operating profit of $59 million compared to $94 million in the previous year. First-quarter 2011 adjusted operating profit totaled $52 million compared to $140 million in 2010. Results were favorably impacted by cost reduction and productivity initiatives and foreign exchange fluctuations. These factors were offset by lower product price/mix and higher material costs.
Based on the current economic outlook, the company continues to expect full-year 2011 U.S. industry unit shipments to increase between 2 percent and 3 percent.
Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa
Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa reported first-quarter sales of $743 million, a 1 percent increase from the prior year. Industry unit demand during the quarter was estimated to be equal to the prior year.
The region reported an operating profit of $25 million during the first quarter compared to an operating profit of $27 million in the previous year. Results were unfavorably impacted by lower product price/mix and higher material costs, partially offset by cost reduction and productivity initiatives.
The company continues to expect full-year 2011 industry growth in the 2 to 4 percent range.
Whirlpool Latin America
Whirlpool Latin America reported first-quarter net sales of $1.2 billion, an increase of 8 percent from the prior year. Excluding currency translation, sales increased approximately 2 percent.
Operating profit totaled $174 million in the first quarter compared with $167 million in the prior year. The improvement in profitability is primarily related to increased monetization of certain tax credits and cost reduction and productivity initiatives. These factors were partially offset by higher material costs.
The company continues to anticipate full-year 2011 appliance industry shipments will increase approximately 5 to 10 percent.
Whirlpool Asia reported first-quarter sales of $208 million, increasing 8 percent from the prior year. Excluding the impact of currency, sales increased approximately 6 percent.
Operating profit totaled $11 million during the first quarter of 2011 and was approximately equal to the prior year level. Favorable volume and product price/mix were offset by higher material costs during the quarter.
The company continues to anticipate full-year 2011 industry unit shipments in Asia to increase approximately 6 to 8 percent.
For the full-year 2011, Whirlpool Corporation continues to expect to produce diluted earnings per share of $12.00 to $13.00. For the full-year, the company expects to generate free cash flow between $400 million and $500 million. This outlook includes approximately $300 million to $350 million of U.S. energy tax credits and U.S. cash pension contributions of approximately $300 million.
"Despite a substantial increase in material and oil-related cost inflation, we are maintaining our full year earnings and cash flow outlook," said Fettig. "We have implemented cost-based price increases in many regions around the world, continue to introduce a strong cadence of innovative new products and remain focused on accelerating our cost reduction and productivity improvements to manage higher material cost inflation."