Whirlpool beats expectations despite COVID-19 sales drop

A Whirlpool employee inspects washer components. PHOTO WHIRLPOOL


By CBJ News Staff

Whirlpool Corporation last week reported net sales were down 9.1% over last year for the first quarter of 2020 – and the company is bracing for a full-year sales decline of between 13 and 18% as the impact of COVID-19 makes its way through the economy.

The Benton Harbor, Michigan company, which makes refrigerators at its plant in Amana, announced its first quarter results April 30. While sales were down, the company beat analysts’ estimates, with earnings per diluted share of $2.82, 20 cents over expectations and revenue of $4.33 billion, slightly higher than the expected $3.4 billion.

The company positioned its results as “resilient” and said it had ample liquidity to overcome current uncertainty. It pointed to solid year-over-year margin performance in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa despite COVID-19 related disruptions, and $100 million in cash used in operating activities and free cash flow improvement driven by “disciplined working capital management.”

“Whirlpool has a 108 year history of leading through challenges, and we are leveraging our leadership position to support our employees, consumers, and communities during this difficult time, while driving our business forward,” said Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool chairman and chief executive officer, in a release. “Our strong performance in the first quarter reflects the hard work of our employees, our relentless focus on delivering on our commitment to consumers, and the resilience of our business. Our fixed cost discipline and strong liquidity position enable us to weather this crisis and emerge in a position of strength. Ultimately, we believe the underlying momentum we saw early in the quarter will return, and we are well prepared to win in the economic recovery.” CBJ