Whirlpool (WHR)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 28, 2011 10:00 am ET


Michael A. Todman - Director and President of Whirlpool International

Roy Templin - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Marc Bitzer - President of Whirlpool - North America

Jeff M. Fettig - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Larry M. Venturelli - Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Financial Officer of Whirlpool International


Thomas Mahoney

Michael Rehaut - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Joshua Pollard - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Robert J. Kelly - Sidoti & Company, LLC

Kenneth R. Zener - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Sam Darkatsh - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

David S. MacGregor - Longbow Research LLC



Good morning, and welcome to Whirlpool Corporation's Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Release Call. Today's conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] For opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Larry Venturelli, Senior Vice President of Finance.

Larry M. Venturelli

Thank you, and good morning. Welcome to the Whirlpool Corporation Third Quarter Conference Call. Joining me today are Jeff Fettig, our Chairman and CEO; Mike Todman, President of Whirlpool International; Marc Bitzer, President of Whirlpool North America; and Roy Templin, our Chief Financial Officer.

Before we begin, let me remind you that as we conduct this call, we will be making forward-looking statements to assist you in understanding Whirlpool Corporation's future expectations. Our actual results could differ materially from these statements due to many factors discussed in our latest 10-K and 10-Q.

Turning to Slide 2, we want to remind you that today's presentation includes non-GAAP measures. We believe that these measures are important indicators of our operations as they exclude items that may not be indicative of, or unrelated to, our core operating results. We also think that the adjusted measures will provide you with a better baseline for analyzing trends in our underlying business.

Listeners are directed to the Appendix Section of our presentation beginning on Slide 36 for the reconciliation of non-GAAP items to the most directly comparable GAAP measures. Our remarks today track with the presentation available on the investors Section of our website at www.whirlpoolcorp.com.

With that, let me turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff M. Fettig

Thanks, Larry. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us on our call today. As you saw our press release this morning, we reported an increase in revenue and earnings in the third quarter compared to last year. However, these results were lower than we expected as our price increases and productivity improvements were more than offset by the impact of weakness which we saw in global demand and higher material costs.

As you see today, we have announced very aggressive plans to substantially reduce our structural costs in order to improve profitability. You may remember as we stated in our second quarter call that given this period's uncertain economic growth in consumer demand, we will be prepared to take the necessary actions to expand our operating margins and improve our earnings if conditions deteriorate. And as you all know, since July, consumer confidence in the U.S. has declined and is now at its lowest level since March of 2009. Demand is also falling off sharply in parts of Europe and slowed in emerging markets.

So given this economic environment, we've taken significant actions to substantially reduce our cost and capacity, which will improve our operating margins and profitability. I would say these plans are the result of a comprehensive global review of our operations, products and manufacturing facilities and are expected to reduce our fixed cost structure by approximately $400 million by the end of 2013.

Before I get into those details, let me first turn to our third quarter results, which you can see on Slide 5. For the quarter, sales reached $4.6 billion, which represents a 2% increase from last year. Our EPS was $2.27 versus $1.02 a year ago. Year-to-date, we have had $739 million of cash usage, which includes $589 million used upon the legacy and financial liabilities, which we previously discussed.

We have started to benefit from previously announced price increases in all major markets in the world. We also had announced additional increases in several markets, including a price increase in the U.S., which will go into effect next year.

I'd ask you to turn now to Slide 6 where you can see our full year's revised demand assumptions. In the U.S., demand remains at recessionary levels. Our 4-year forecast is now for a 3% to 5% decline for the region. As you know, Europe has been significantly impacted by the sovereign debt crisis and low consumer confidence, and we now expect full year industry demand to be flat.

Demand in Latin America region declined by about 5% during the quarter, and we now expect full year demand to be between flat and up 5% for the year. And we've modestly reduce Asia's growth just 2% to 4% as we expect to see continued growth in China but we are seeing declining growth in India.

I'll now turn to Slide 7 where you'll see material costs, which have had a significant impact on our margins. Despite a generally weaker slowing growth around the world, we didn't see raw material or related cost at very high levels, and we believe though they've peaked during the quarter.

Turning to Slide 8. Given these external challenges, we made very clear what our business priorities are. First is to expand our operating margins. Second, we will continue to invest on our global operating footprint in brands to continue to offer strong teams of consumer-relevant innovation to the marketplace. Third, we're reducing our cost structure. And as you see, we're taking immediate actions to align our cost structure with current and expected near-term industry demand levels, and we'll provide you with the detail of that in a moment.

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