BENTON HARBOR—A sharp reduction in restructuring costs and an income tax refund vs. a payment last year boosted net income for Benton Harbor-based appliance giant Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE:WHRL).
Net income for the first quarter ended March 31 was $474 million or $7.31 a share, up from $94 million or $1.30 a share a year earlier.
Revenue fell 3 percent, to $4.76 billion from $4.91 billion a year earlier. But the company said the decline was caused by currency fluctuation—excluding the impact of currency, sales actually rose 1 percent.
But the company received $132 million in income tax benefits in the quarter, vs. paying $15 million a year ago. And its restructuring costs in the first quarter fell to $26 million from $144 million a year earlier. The company said the tax benefits came from an indirect tax credit in Brazil.
The company also reported a figure for “ongoing earnings per diluted share” of $3.11, up from $2.81 a year earlier.
“We delivered another strong quarter with margin expansion and record first-quarter earnings per share despite a soft demand environment in several countries,” said Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool chairman and CEO. “Successful execution of price increases and sustained focus on cost discipline drove very positive results in the first quarter, and provide confidence in our ability to deliver our full-year financial goals.”
By region, the company reported flat sales in North America of $2.5 billion, with earnings before interest and taxes of $312 million, up from $288 million a year earlier. In Europe-Middle East-Africa, sales were $1 billion, down from $1.1 billion a year earlier. EBIT was a loss of $21 million, an improvement from a loss of $27 million a year earlier. In Latin America, sales were $875 million, down from $898 million a year earlier. EBIT was $45 million, down from $51 million a year earlier. And in Asia, sales were $371 million, down from $448 million a year earlier. EBIT was $7 million, down from $19 million a year earlier.
Company officials said Whirlpool expects net income of $14.05 to $15.05 per share in 2019, and free cash flow of $800 million to $900 million.
Whirlpool employs about 92,000 people at 65 manufacturing and research sites around the world. Its brands include Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn Air, Indesit and others.
More at www.whirlpoolcorp.com.