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Posted on April 27, 2011
Whirlpool Corp. (WHR), the world’s largest appliance maker, said first-quarter profit advanced 3 percent, helped by an energy tax credit.
Net income rose to $169 million, or $2.17 a share, from $164 million, or $2.13 a share, a year earlier, the maker of KitchenAid refrigerators and Maytag washing machines said today in a statement. Revenue gained 3 percent to $4.4 billion, surpassing the $4.29 billion predicted by analysts. Profit was $2.11 a share, excluding some items, and operating profit declined.
Sales at Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, recovered last year after the company gained market share and benefited from U.S. tax credits for making energy-efficient appliances. Jeff Fettig, chairman and chief executive officer, is also expanding business in emerging markets such as Brazil, with about half of the company’s sales coming from North America last year.
“Our first-quarter results reflect our ongoing cost reduction efforts and continued innovation investments, which helped to mitigate significant material cost inflation,” Fettig said in the statement today.
Whirlpool rose 0.7 percent to $87.86 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, extending the stock’s gain in six months to 8.4 percent.
Whirlpool plans to spend more than $600 million on research and development and will open a plant and distribution center in Tennessee and a headquarters with $1 billion in U.S. investment through 2014, Fettig said in a speech in Detroit last month.
Founded a century ago, Whirlpool bought smaller Maytag Corp. in 2006 for $2.6 billion to compete with appliance makers in Asia.
After closing nine factories in North America since the merger, the company still operates nine plants in the U.S., with about 17,500 workers, and says 82 percent of the units sold in the U.S. are domestically made. Globally, Whirlpool employs 71,000 people.
Sales at the appliance maker rose 7 percent to $18.4 billion last year after dropping during the housing slump of the previous two years. In the year-earlier quarter, the company attributed a rise in revenue to increased productivity.
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