Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) revealed on Thursday a 46% decline in first-quarter profit that was short of Wall Street expectations, as demand for appliances slumped and higher raw material costs dug into operating margins.
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However, the company’s North America business saw earnings triple during the quarter, expanding margins in its largest geographic region. While sales there dipped 1% to $2.2 billion on a 7% slide in shipments, earnings were boosted to $151 million on higher prices, an improved product mix and tighter costs.
The world’s largest maker of appliances reported profit of $92 million, or $1.17 a share, compared with a year-earlier $169 million, or $2.17.
Excluding one-time restructuring and tax charges, the company earned $1.41, ahead of average analyst estimates of $1.12 in a Thompson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the three months ended March 31 was down 1.2% to $4.35 billion, missing the Street’s view of $4.38 billion.
Shares of Whirlpool were down about 4.5% Thursday morning to $65.80.
The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company continues to expect full-year earnings between $6.50 and $7 a share, excluding items, which is above the Street’s forecast of $6.20.