Whirlpool profit beats on price hikes, shares jump

FILE PHOTO: The administrative entrance at the Whirlpool plant in Clyde, Ohio, U.S. October 3, 2017.REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/

(Reuters) - Appliances maker Whirlpool Corp beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Monday, fueled by price increases to counter higher raw material and freight costs.

Shares of the company rose about 8 percent after the bell, adding to the 32 percent gain since the beginning of the year.

Whirlpool is facing higher-than-expected raw material costs as the U.S.-China trade dispute has made imported steel and aluminum expensive, with the company looking to cushion the hit by raising prices and reining in costs.

“Successful execution of price increases and sustained focus on cost discipline drove very positive results in the first quarter, and provide confidence in our ability to deliver our full-year financial goals,” Chief Executive Officer Marc Bitzer said in a statement.

The company also hiked its quarterly dividend by 4.3 percent and reaffirmed its full-year profit forecast of between $14 and $15 per share.

Net earnings available to Whirlpool rose to $471 million, or $7.31 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from $94 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

The quarter included a $127 million benefit from a Brazilian indirect tax credit.

Excluding items, the company earned $3.11 per share, blowing past analysts’ average estimate of $2.86, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales fell 3.1 percent to $4.76 billion, missing the average estimate of $4.83 billion.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas, Divya R and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila