Whirlpool Washes Away Soft Fourth-Quarter Revenue With Strong Earnings Beat

Appliance maker Whirlpool reported softer-than-expected revenue but easily topped analysts' earnings estimates.
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Whirlpool  (WHR) - Get Report shares were wavering after hours on Monday as the home-appliance maker reported fourth-quarter earnings jumped 71%, topping analysts' expectations.

The Benton Harbor, Mich., company earned $4.52 a share in the quarter against $2.64 in the year-earlier period. The latest adjusted number was $4.91. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting $4.27 a share.

Whirlpool reported revenue of $5.38 billion, off 4.9% from $5.66 billion a year earlier. Analysts were looking for $5.52 billion.

At last check Whirlpool shares were up 0.5%. They'd closed the regular session Monday down 0.8% at $148.23.

For 2020, the company expects to earn $14.80 to $15.80 a share, or an adjusted $16 to $17. Analysts surveyed by FactSet are expecting $16.34 per share.

"The underlying drivers of our global business" - including demand and moderating inflationary cost pressures - "are favorable," CEO Marc Bitzer said in a statement.

North America, Whirlpool's strongest sales region, reported quarterly revenue of $3.1 billion, about flat with a year earlier. Profit before interest and taxes rose 9% to $410 million.

“The favorable impact of product price/mix and disciplined cost takeout" was "partially offset by lower fixed-cost leverage and continued cost inflation,” Whirlpool said.

The company described the North America segment as posting a "[strong] sustained financial performance despite soft industry demand."

The Europe-Middle East-Africa segment reported net sales of $1.2 billion, also flat year over year.

Latin America saw a 21% decrease in sales to $782 million from $990 million. 

Net sales in Asia fell 4.3% to $356 million from $372 million. The company said China “brand transition investments” as well as soft demand in the region were responsible for the decrease in Asia. China posted an operating loss for Whirlpool.

This year through the close on Monday, Whirlpool shares are little changed. They touched a 52-week high above $163 in October, and they've bounced 30% off their 52-week low at $114 at the end of last May.