Whirlpool Beats Lowered Estimates by a Penny

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Whirlpool

(WHR) - Get Report

reported earnings of $1 a share in the fourth quarter, topping Wall Street's lowered estimates by a penny, and the appliance maker expects similar results in the first quarter of 2001.

The announcement beat the best guess of eight analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

, who expected earnings of 99 cents a share. Whirlpool also beat its own expectations, as the company had issued an earnings warning in December, saying it expected to earn 98 cents a share, down from previous projections ranging from $1.45 to $1.55. In the year-ago period, Whirlpool posted earnings of $1.51 a share.

The Benton Harbor, Mich., company reported revenue of $2.58 billion, down from $2.67 billion in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter income was down 41%, to $67 million from $113 million. Of the company's international divisions, all were profitable except

Whirlpool Europe

, which is expected to return to profitability in the first quarter of 2001.

Whirlpool expects similar earnings for the next quarter, even with charges associated with the worldwide reduction of about 6,000 jobs. The cuts will take place in phases during the next four quarters, with the first announcement, concerning roughly 2,000 jobs, coming in about two weeks. Analysts expect the company to earn $1.02 in the first quarter.

Whirlpool gained 63 cents, or 1.3%, to $50.06 in recent trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

.