New York: Whirlpool Corp’s quarterly profit blew past Wall Street estimates on strong sales in Brazil, Asia and North America, prompting the world’s largest appliance maker to raise its full-year outlook.
The maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances, whose shares rose nearly 8%, has benefited from its presence in fast-growing Latin American and Asian markets, fueled by the purchasing power of a growing middle class.
While a sluggish economy and weak housing market had dented sales in North America — its largest market — increasing demand for energy-efficient products and a federal stimulus program are now bringing shoppers back.
The strong results came just days after data showed new orders for durable US manufactured goods, excluding transportation, posted their largest gain in more than two years in March, while home sales hit an eight-month high, renewing hopes the US economy was on its road to recovery.
Whirlpool now sees full-year 2010 US industry unit shipments up 3% to 5%, up from its prior outlook of a 2% to 4% rise. “While economic uncertainty remains, Whirlpool is well positioned to substantially grow earnings from prior-year levels,” chief executive officer Jeff Fettig said in a statement.
“Our innovation pipeline is strong and we continue to make the appropriate investments in our global brand offerings to drive growth,” he added. Whirlpool’s first-quarter net income rose to $164 million, or $2.13 a share, from $68 million, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned $2.51 a share, beating the analysts’ average estimate of $1.33, according to Thomson Reuters.
Sales rose about 20% to $4.27 billion, while analysts expected $3.79 billion. Sales in North America rose 7% to $2.3 billion, while unit shipments there rose 11%.
Sales rose 65% in Latin America and increased 60% in Asia. For the full year, the company now expects its shipments to rise about 10% in Brazil and 5% to 8% in Asia.
Whirlpool forecast 2010 earnings at $8 to $8.50 a share, up from its prior outlook of $6.50 to $7.00. Shares of Whirlpool were up 7.6% at $110 in trading before the market opened.