Financial Performance

Whirlpool Profit Sags on Raw Materials Inflation

The appliance maker has been trying to mitigate its higher raw materials costs with price increases and cost cutting.
Matthew HellerApril 24, 2018

Whirlpool’s quarterly sales and earnings missed analysts’ estimates and the appliance maker said it expects continued pressure this year from slower revenue growth and higher raw materials costs.

For the first quarter, Whirlpool reported net income of $94 million, or $1.30 a share, compared with $153 million, or $2.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose to $4.91 billion from $4.78 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.81 per share, up from $2.50 a year ago. But analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $3.00 a share on sales of $4.95 billion.

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Whirlpool noted that its “global cost-based pricing benefits are successfully ramping up, contributing to positive global price/mix during the first quarter” and its fixed cost-cutting initiatives have been completed and are expected to deliver a $150 million net benefit in 2018.

“We are pleased with the progress on our previously-announced global cost-based price increases and fixed cost reduction initiatives, which resulted in expansion of both ongoing EBIT and ongoing earnings per share,” CEO Marc Bitzer said in a news release.

“Our first-quarter results give us further confidence in our long-term value creation strategy, and we remain focused on delivering strong levels of margin expansion and improved cash conversion this year,” he added.

As The Financial Times reports, “Whirlpool shares fell 7.2 per cent last year as it grappled with raw material inflation and declining unit volume. Nevertheless, it had hoped for a smoother ride in 2018 under the Trump administration, which slapped tariffs on washing machines imported by rivals LG and Samsung following a victory before a trade panel.”

To mitigate the effect of raw materials inflation, the company announced “global cost-based price increases on a majority of its business” as well as the fixed cost reduction initiative. It said it is still looking for global shipments to remain flat or rise as much as 2 per cent in 2017.

For the full year, Whirlpool lowered its full-year earnings guidance by 15 cents, from its previously issued range of $12.45 to $13.45 to $12.30 to $13.30.