Whirlpool to Axe 5,000 Jobs, Lowers 2011 Forecast

BENTON HARBOR, Michigan ( TheStreet) -- Whirlpool ( WHR) significantly reduced its outlook for 2011 earnings and said it would cut 5,000 jobs to trim costs and expand its operating margins.

"We are taking necessary actions to address a much more challenging global economic environment," said Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool chairman and CEO, in a statement Friday. "We believe our cost and capacity reduction initiatives, recently announced cost-based price increases and innovative product launches will enable us to expand operating margins and deliver long-term value to shareholders."

Citing weaker-than-expected industry demand, lower production levels and a weak economic environment, Whirlpool said it expects 2011 earnings of $4.75 to $5.25 a share, down from its previous estimate at the low-end of the range of $7.25 to $8.25 a share.

Whirlpool said the job cuts and other actions, such as reducing capacity by six million units and closing a refrigeration manufacturing plant in Fort Smith, Ark., will save $400 million annually by the end of 2013.

Whirlpool posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.35 a share, up from a year earlier but below analysts' estimates of $2.75.

Sales in the quarter rose 2% to $4.62 billion but were below analysts' estimates of $4.76 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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