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Whirlpool (WHR) Battles Currency Woes, Q1 Earnings Miss

Whirlpool Corporation WHR began 2016 on a soft note as it posted lower-than-expected top- and bottom-line results for the first quarter.

Whirlpool’s quarterly adjusted earnings per share of $2.63 fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.71. Nonetheless, earnings surged 22.9% year over year, mainly driven by the company’s sustained focus on cost- and capacity-reduction initiatives, synergies generated from acquisitions, and constant cost productivity.  

On a reported basis, the company’s earnings plunged 19.3% to $1.92 per share from $2.38 earned in the prior-year quarter.

Revenues came in at $4,616 million, down 4.7% from the comparable year-ago quarter and also below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,662 million. On a currency-neutral basis, however, Whirlpool registered year-over-year sales growth of nearly 1%.

Adjusted operating profit in the quarter rose 6.6% to $339 million from $318 million in the year-ago quarter, while operating margin expanded 70 basis points (bps) to 7.3%. Operating results improved on gains from acquisition synergies; ongoing cost- and capacity-reduction initiatives and cost productivity, slightly offset by foreign currency headwinds coupled with soft demand in emerging markets.

Regional Performance

Revenues from North America went up 4.3% year over year to $2.4 billion, while revenues grew 5% on a currency-neutral basis. Adjusted operating profit increased 10% year over year to $253 million, while operating margin expanded 70 bps to 10.5%. During the quarter, gains from ongoing cost productivity and improved revenues overshadowed the negative impact of unfavorable foreign exchange rates. The company expects its North American industry shipments to increase by 5%–6% in 2016.

Revenues from Latin America declined 22.2% year over year to $0.7 billion. Excluding the negative effects of currency translation, revenues dropped 4%. Operating profit of $42 million deteriorated 28.8% from $59 million reported last year, as better product price/mix and gains from cost and capacity reductions were more than offset by adverse currency impact and lower unit volumes due to weak demand in Brazil. The company expects industry unit shipments in Latin America to be down by nearly 10% in 2016.

Revenues from EMEA declined 7.7% to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion reported in the prior-year quarter. However, on a currency-neutral basis, revenues at the segment dropped 3%. First-quarter adjusted operating income was $58 million, compared with $35 million in the year-ago quarter. Whirlpool expects industry unit shipments in 2016 in the range of flat to a 2% increase.

Revenues from Asia dipped 1.9% to $371 million in first-quarter 2016 from $378 million in the prior-year quarter. Excluding currency effects, revenues rose 3%. Adjusted operating profit was $27 million as against $26 million reported a year ago. The company expects industry shipments in the region to be flat in 2016.

Financial Position

Whirlpool had cash and cash equivalents of $699 million as of Mar 31, 2016, and long-term debt of $3,251 million.

This largest home-appliances manufacturer in the world used $661 million of cash in operating activities in the first quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, the company’s capital expenditure in the period was $85 million. As of Mar 31, 2016, Whirlpool had free cash flow of $(739) million.

Along with its results, Whirlpool announced a share repurchase program worth $1.2 billion and hiked its dividend by 11%, highlighting its commitment toward shareholders.

Guidance

Following the results, Whirlpool reiterated its full-year 2016 earnings guidance, projecting GAAP earnings in the range of $11.25–$12.00 per share, while earnings from its ongoing business are envisioned in the band of $14.00–$14.75 per share.

The company continues to expect free cash flow in the range of $700–$800 million for 2016. This guidance includes restructured cash outlays of up to $200 million and capital expenditures of $700–$750 million.

Zacks Rank

Currently, Whirlpool carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other well-ranked consumer discretionary stocks include Hooker Furniture Corp. HOFT and American Woodmark Corp. AMWD, each with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and AB Electrolux (publ) ELUXY, with a Zacks Rank #2.

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WHIRLPOOL CORP (WHR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AB ELECTROLUX (ELUXY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AMER WOODMARK (AMWD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HOOKER FURNITUR (HOFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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