Europe continues to be a drag for Whirlpool

Whirlpool reported a drop in sales in its EMEA region in its final three-month financial period to end of December 2018, as it said its household appliances made the firm no profit in the region in the quarter.

Sales of Whirlpool products in EMEA dropped more than 6% from $1.4 billion (£1.06bn) in the same period in 2017, and the firm, which sells Hotpoint, Indesit and KitchenAid products in the UK, said the region put a $15 million hole in its accounts in the quarter.

In the same period last year, Whirlpool reported earnings before interest and tax of $8m in EMEA.

Whirlpool blamed poor EMEA earnings on raw material inflation and currency volatility, but gave no reason for the sales decline.

Despite the drag from Europe, Whirlpool swung into profit for its whole business in the three-month period, driven by higher appliance prices and a robust performance in North America.

Despite higher costs, mainly as a result of US tariffs, Whirlpool reported net earnings of $170m, compared with a loss of $272m in the year before, on almost flat sales of $5.6bn.

It offered earnings guidance for 2019 of between $14 and $15 a share, slightly below market expectations.

Restructuring costs in 2018 mainly related to further integrating the Indesit business into the wider Whirlpool corporation.

The company recently appointed a new president for its EMEA region, Gilles Morel, who will take up the role in April.

He will be under pressure to get the European business back on track, amid intense competition from local competitors as well as cash-rich Asian brands, like Haier, which has recently moved its European headquarters to Hoover Candy’s former head office in Brugherio.

This is not too far away from Whirlpool’s European head office in Milan.

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