UPDATE 2-Whirlpool trumps estimates, raises FY outlook

Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:15am EDT

* Q1 EPS ex-items $2.51 vs Street's $1.33

* Q1 sales up 20 pct at $4.27 billion, beat Street view

* Raises FY shr view to $8.00 to $8.50 from $6.50 to $7.00

* Whirlpool shares up 7.6 percent (Adds segment details, background)

NEW YORK, April 26 (Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp's (WHR.N) quarterly profit blew past Wall Street estimates on strong sales in Brazil, Asia and North America, prompting the world's largest appliance maker to raise its full-year outlook.

The maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances, whose shares rose nearly 8 percent, has benefited from its presence in fast-growing Latin American and Asian markets, fueled by the purchasing power of a growing middle class.

While a sluggish economy and weak housing market had dented sales in North America -- its largest market -- increasing demand for energy-efficient products and a federal stimulus program are now bringing shoppers back.

The strong results came just days after data showed new orders for durable U.S. manufactured goods, excluding transportation, posted their largest gain in more than two years in March, while home sales hit an eight-month high, renewing hopes the U.S. economy was on its road to recovery.

Whirlpool now sees full-year 2010 U.S. industry unit shipments up 3 percent to 5 percent, up from its prior outlook of a 2 percent to 4 percent rise.

"While economic uncertainty remains, Whirlpool is well positioned to substantially grow earnings from prior-year levels," Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fettig said in a statement.

"Our innovation pipeline is strong and we continue to make the appropriate investments in our global brand offerings to drive growth," he added.

Whirlpool's first-quarter net income rose to $164 million, or $2.13 a share, from $68 million, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it earned $2.51 a share, beating the analysts' average estimate of $1.33, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose about 20 percent to $4.27 billion, while analysts expected $3.79 billion.

Sales in North America rose 7 percent to $2.3 billion, while unit shipments there rose 11 percent.

Sales rose 65 percent in Latin America and increased 60 percent in Asia.

For the full year, the company now expects its shipments to rise about 10 percent in Brazil and 5 percent to 8 percent in Asia.

Whirlpool forecast 2010 earnings at $8 to $8.50 a share, up from its prior outlook of $6.50 to $7.00.

Shares of Whirlpool were up 7.6 percent at $110 in trading before the market opened. (Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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