BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Whirlpool Corp. announced last week that its fourth-quarter profit climbed 72%, helped by the Maytag acquisition, an improved product mix and the weak dollar. Whirlpool’s net earnings for all of 2007 rose 48%.
Whirlpool, which bought Maytag in 2006, said fourth-quarter earnings after preferred dividends increased to $187 million, or $2.38 per share, compared to $109 million, or $1.37 per share, in the prior year. Quarterly revenue grew 7% to $5.33 billion from $5 billion a year earlier.
The company performed well despite flat domestic sales and continued price increases for energy and raw materials like steel, Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool’s chief executive officer, said. Almost half of Whirlpool’s revenues now come from foreign countries as the company becomes more globally diversified, Fettig added. “Our international markets are currently experiencing higher growth rates and expanding profit margins, which is helping to mitigate a weaker U.S. market,” he said.
Despite some concerns, Fettig is optimistic about this year, saying Whirlpool’s performance will be aided by “significantly higher investments in innovation and advertising” and by its willingness to adjust cost structure and manufacturing capacity.