Whirlpool earnings down 7 percent

Appliances giant Whirlpool posted third-quarter earnings of $163 million, down 7 percent from $175 million in the same period last year. Revenue was $4.9 billion, up 1 percent from $4.8 billion in the year-ago period.

The company attributed its earnings to lower global unit volumes, higher material and oil-related costs and lower asset sale gains compared to last year. However, these factors were partially offset by an income tax benefit, favorable price/mix and productivity initiatives during the quarter.

"We are in the midst of a rapidly changing and very challenging economic environment,” said Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool chairman and CEO. “We have seen a sharp drop in demand in North America and Europe during the third quarter, and we do not expect demand conditions to improve in the near term."

“We will reduce our global work force by approximately 5,000 positions by the end of 2009,” he added. “In addition to the four facility closures we have announced earlier this year, we are also closing our Jackson, Tenn, facility and transferring production into our Findlay, Ohio, location."

In addition, sales for Whirlpool’s North American unit were $2.7 billion, down 7 percent from the prior year. Whirlpool Europe had sales of $1.1 billion, up 9 percent from last year. Whirlpool Latin America reported sales of $1.0 billion, up 22 percent from the year-ago period.