Whirlpool Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Whirlpool (WHR)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 24, 2012 10:00 am ET


Joseph Lovechio - Senior Director of Investor Relations

Jeff M. Fettig - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Marc Bitzer - President of Whirlpool - North America

Michael A. Todman - Director and President of Whirlpool International Operations

Larry M. Venturelli - Chief Financial Officer


David S. MacGregor - Longbow Research LLC

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

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

Michael Rehaut - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Joshua Pollard - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to Whirlpool Corporation's Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Release Call. Today's call is being recorded. For opening remarks and introductions, I'd like to turn the call over to Senior Director of Investor Relations, Joe Lovechio.

Joseph Lovechio

Thank you and good morning. Welcome to the Whirlpool Corporation Second Quarter 2012 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 Larry Venturelli, our Chief Financial Officer. Our remarks today track with the presentation available on the Investors section of our website at whirlpoolcorp.com.

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 8-K, 10-K and 10-Q, as well as in the Appendix of this presentation.

Turning to Slide 3. 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 are unrelated to results from our ongoing business operations. We also think that the adjusted measures will provide you with a better baseline for analyzing trends in our ongoing business operation.

Listeners are directed to the Appendix section of our presentation beginning on Slide 34 for the reconciliation of non-GAAP items to the most directly comparable GAAP measures.

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

Jeff M. Fettig

Well, good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. As you saw in our press release from earlier today, we delivered a strong improvement in our Q2 operating results. We continue to deliver on the commitments that we outlined at the beginning of the year, and we're reaffirming our full year guidance. Overall, I believe we executed well during the quarter and the first half of the year, and our margin expansion initiatives remain on track. In total, these actions fully offset weaker than expected demand, unfavorable currency and material inflation during the quarter.

Our North America and Latin America businesses continue to perform extremely well. In North America, our ongoing business operating profit more than doubled year-over-year. Our cost and capacity reduction initiatives are on track to realize the expected $200 million per year cost savings benefit this year. And we continue to see very good -- a very strong price/mix improvement during the quarter, which has been enabled by our innovation, which is winning in the marketplace; our strong global consumer brand portfolio, which is enabling us to mix up our mix; and our continued support of our brands through ramped up investments.

Turning to Slide 6. Overall revenues for the quarter were up 3%, excluding the impact of currency and BEFIEX, driven by strong product price and mix. Our diluted earnings per share from ongoing business operations improved to $1.55 per share compared with $0.81 in the prior year, and our underlying free cash flow significantly improved year-over-year from ongoing business operations.

On Slide 7, you can clearly see our continued positive trend of both price/mix and margin expansion. During the first half, we made very strong progress towards our full year margin target. And we expect to improve our margins to 6% to 7% during the second half of the year and reach our full year operating profit margins of between 5.5% and 6% in line with our original guidance.

Turning to Slide 8. Globally, we now expect second half industry demand to improve versus first half levels. We have revised several of our regional forecasts on a full year basis. Our full year U.S. industry demand is now forecasted to be flat to down 2% for the year. In Latin America, the Brazilian tax holiday was extended through the end of August. And with this extension, combined with good underlying economic fundamentals throughout the region, we now expect demand growth to increase from our original guidance to the range of 5% to 7%.

In Europe, we continue to see an industry decline for the year in the range of down 2% to down 5% for the full year. And of course, as you know, the European markets continue to face very challenging macroeconomic conditions, which are impacting consumer demand.

We are managing our business accordingly with cost and previously announced price actions along with very disciplined inventory management in this weak demand environment. And finally, we now expect full year unit shipments in Asia to be flat to up to 2%.

Slide 9 shows our key business drivers for the year versus our original guidance. As I just outlined, demand was weak in the first half of the year and currencies were volatile and had a negative impact on operations. Raw material inflation was in line with our forecast, and we continue to expect a range of $300 million to $350 million for the year. However, if current raw material trends continue, we would expect this to move towards the lower end of the range.

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