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Appliance maker to slash 5,000 jobs; profit falls 7%

October 29, 2008|Times Wire Reports

Whirlpool Corp. said Tuesday that it was eliminating about 5,000 jobs this year and next, in large part because of the long downturn in the U.S. housing market.

The nation's largest home appliance maker also reported that its earnings fell 7% during the third quarter. Whirlpool lowered its earnings outlook for the year and announced price increases.

Shares of Whirlpool dropped 8.3%, or $4.16, to $45.87. They have traded as high as $98 in the last year.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company earned $163 million, or $2.15 a share, for the quarter, compared with $175 million, or $2.20, a year earlier. Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 edged up to $4.9 billion from $4.8 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters anticipated, on average, earnings per share of $1.69 on revenue of $5 billion.

Whirlpool said the drop in profit reflected higher material and oil-related costs and lower industry demand. U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances declined 11% in the quarter.

The company said it now expected a profit of $5.75 to $6 a share for 2008, compared with its previous estimate of $7 to $7.50. It also predicts generating free cash flow of $50 million or less for the full year, down from its previous estimate of $500 million to $550 million. To offset higher costs, Whirlpool will raise the prices of its products sold in North America by 8% to 10% in January.

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