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Whirlpool Makes Better Than Expected Forecasts For 2020

Whirlpool Makes Better Than Expected Forecasts For 2020
One of the major appliance manufacturers of the world Whirlpool posted better than expected results for the fourth quarter while predicting profits for 2020 well over the expectations of analysts. The company manufactures and markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, JennAir, Indesit and other major brands in almost all countries of the world.
The company said that during the last year, it managed to reduce expenses and had raised prices in order to offset effect of higher costs of production. The company had raised prices for its products twice in the United States in 2019 because of higher costs of imported steel aluminum as imposed by US president Donald Trump. The costs of production increased because both steel and aluminum are major components of their products.
The high prices will be maintained by the company, said Chief Executive Officer Marc Bitzer in a television interview.
"Yes, we've seen some relief on the raw materials. And yes, it's coming down. But we're far away from having kind of eaten into that $700 million high of cost increases," he said. Over the past two years, the company has been facing the impact of rising costs, he noted. 
"2019 was a very strong year for Whirlpool as we successfully delivered against our commitments and reported results that outperformed our guidance expectations despite a continued challenging macro-environment," said Marc Bitzer, chairman and chief executive officer of Whirlpool Corporation. "The underlying drivers of our global business are favorable, including demand for our innovative products and a moderation of inflationary cost pressures. We exited the year with solid momentum and we are confident in our guidance for 2020 and our ability to execute on our long-term strategy."
The company said that for 2020, it expects to achieve a full year profits of between $16.00 per share and $17.00 per share. According to IBES data from Refinitiv, the mid-point of the range forecast by the company is above analysts' average estimate of $16.34.
The company reported a drop of almost 5 per cent in net sales to $5.38 billion which was lower than the market estimates of $5.52 billion. The company noted that demand for its washing machines and dishwashers was pulled down due ot the higher prices.
"We executed against our financial goals in 2019, including expanding our margins, enhancing our free cash flow generation and strengthening our balance sheet – all while delivering record earnings per share and continuing to invest in the business," said Jim Peters, chief financial officer of Whirlpool Corporation. "As momentum continues in 2020 and we progress towards our long-term financial goals, we expect to deliver further value to our shareholders."
The company also reported flat growth in sale in its largest market of North America. At the same time, the company’s sales dropped in the other regions of the world.
Whirlpool said it experienced operating losses in China during the fourth quarter because of investments made in brand transition and soft demand environment.
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Christopher J. Mitchell

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