It's all about four things for Whirlpool Corp. (WHR)
That was part of the message that CEO Marc Bitzer recounted during a conference call on Tuesday, July 24, after the release of disappointing second-quarter 2018 earnings the day before.
Investors, though, reacted to misses on earnings per share and revenue and scaled-back guidance, as shares closed down 14.52% for the day to $128.82 The stock is down 22.9% in 2018 and 31.5% over the past year.
Bitzer said the chief contributors to the earnings miss and the company's biggest concerns going forward are the cost of steel and resin that go into making the large metal boxes that become washing machines, dryers, stoves and refrigerators, the company's stock and trade. The two other important factors are freight, affected by the cost of fuel and a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry, and tariffs, including those imposed by President Donald Trump's administration on steel imports earlier this year.
In the steel arena, Bitzer said the company had some cushion, as it negotiates annual contracts and they haven't been strongly affected this quarter, but resins, used to make the insides of some appliances, have no annual contracts, making it harder to contain costs.
The company posted earnings of $3.20 per share versus Wall Street's expectation of $3.69 and revenue of $5.16 billion, versus the anticipated $5.29 billion. Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., and the maker of Whirlpool and Maytag appliances, revised its adjusted earnings per share for 2018 to between $14.20 and $14.80, down from its earlier range of $14.50 to $15.50. The company adjusted year-over-year estimated revenue growth to flat versus its previous estimate of up 1%, and earnings before interest and taxes down to 6.9% versus the earlier 7.5%.
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In a note on Monday, RBC Capital Markets LLC analyst Michael Dahl wrote that sales and revenue came in 3% and 4%, respectively, below RBC's estimates.
Whirlpool said its North America operations reported net sales of $2.8 billion, flat year over year. Excluding the impact of currency, sales decreased 2.2%.
An earlier trucker strike in Brazil impacted the company's Latin America business, Bitzer said, and he predicted the country could be a soft spot till its general elections, set for October, are settled. He added that Mexico was strong, but nonetheless, sales in Whirlpool Latin America were down 11.4% to $852 million, compared with $986 million in the same period in 2017.
Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, excluding the impact of currency, dipped 12.3%, with net sales of $1.1 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in 2017. Bitzer said the U.K. and Russia were weak spots, whereas France was strong and, to some extent, so were Italy and Germany. Bitzer said the European division will be getting a new president within the next few quarters, but he will serve in that capacity until the hire.
Asian sales increased 14.5% to $428 million, compared with $373 million at this time last year.
Aside from Whirlpool and Maytag, Whirlpool's other brands include KitchenAid, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air and Indesit.