14324 Thu, 04/24/2008 - 12:14pm
BENTON HARBOR, Mich.–First-quarter net income from continuing operations for Whirlpool, the parent company of the KitchenAid brand off small kitchen electrics, fell 20 percent to $94 million.
A company statement from the manufacturing giant said revenue in the first quarter was $4.6 billion, up 4.5 percent from the first quarter of 2007, but rising costs for oil and raw materials dragged down the company’s profit. Whirlpool’s U.S. business dampened the company’s results as well. U.S. sales of $2.6 billion were 3 percent off from last year’s first quarter, and the operating profit for the U.S. business plummeted by more than 72 percent to $44 million.
“We had strong performance in our international operations, which was offset by declines in our North American business,” said Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The combination of unprecedented material cost increases and seven consecutive quarters of lower U.S. demand have resulted in one of the most challenging operating environments we have seen in three decades.”
The company statement also said the challenging environment is likely to prevail throughout 2008 as well. Whirlpool projected that full-year, U.S. industry unit shipments will drop by about 5 percent to 6 percent from 2007 levels—a gloomier assessment from the company’s previous forecast of a falloff of 3 percent to 5 percent in shipments.