Whirlpool reports strong Q4, full-year earnings

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool reported fourth-quarter net earnings of $171 million, up 80% from $95 million during the same period in 2009. 

Fourth-quarter operating profit totaled $202 million, up 1.5% from $199 million in the prior year. Results benefited from cost reduction and productivity initiatives, increased monetization of certain tax credits, higher unit volume and lower incentive compensation. 

Full-year 2010 net earnings were $619 million, up 89% from $328 million reported for 2009.

Annual net sales were $18.4 billion, up 7% from the prior year. 

"Delivering consumer-relevant innovations, managing costs and executing in the marketplace drove our improved performance in 2010," said Jeff M. Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool. "We improved our operating margins and strengthened our financial position for the year -- all indicators that our brand-value creation strategy is working. 

"As we enter 2011, we remain focused on delivering higher margin innovations, realizing significant cost productivity, and achieving profitable growth driven by some recovery in demand in the developed economies and by continued strong growth in many emerging markets. In 2011, we expect to expand our operating margins despite significant global inflation and generate good levels of free cash flow and further strengthen our financial position."

In addition, fourth-quarter sales for Whirlpool North America totaled $2.6 billion, down 1% from the prior year. Whirlpool Europe reported fourth-quarter sales of $922 million, down 4% from the same period in 2009. Whirlpool Latin America posted fourth-quarter net sales of $1.4 billion, up 18% from the prior year. Fourth-quarter sales for Whirlpool Asia totaled $204 million, up 9% from 2009. 

For 2011, Whirlpool expects to report diluted earnings per share of $12.00 to $13.00.  This outlook includes the impact of about $4.00 per share from U.S. energy tax credits the company expects to earn during 2011 due to recent tax legislation.