(Corrects to delete bullet point about Whirlpool’s profit topping hopes, because EPS excluding items was below analysts’ expectations)
* U.S. appliance maker raises outlook
* Says it’s seeing ‘sustainable, profound’ recovery in US demand
* Shares rise nearly 8 percent
* Rival Electrolux echoes Whirlpool’s outlook, optimism
By James B. Kelleher
CHICAGO, July 19 (Reuters) - Home-appliance manufacturers Whirlpool Corp and Swedish rival Electrolux AB forecast a strong rebound in demand from Europe, suggesting consumer confidence may be turning the corner after being battered by a debt crisis and austerity measures.
Whirlpool profits surged 75 percent in the second quarter on rising sales in all of its markets, especially Europe and the United States, where the housing recovery boosted demand for appliances.
Electrolux posted a slight drop in core earnings due in part to currency effects, but reported the first rise in total industry shipments of appliances in Europe in six quarters.
Electrolux Chief Executive Keith McLoughlin said he be believed Europe’s darkest days were behind it.
“While southern Europe continues to lag, there are some positive trends in Germany, the Nordics in particular and the UK,” he said in an interview with Reuters.
Electrolux’s prediction of a rebound in demand for its products in Europe in 2014, and its raised forecast for U.S. sales, sent its shares up 5 percent in European trading.
Whirlpool’s gains were led by big unit sales increases in Europe and Latin America, where revenue rose nearly 6 percent, and the United States, where revenue was up 5.1 percent.
“We are seeing, we think, sustainable, profound demand recovery in the U.S. marketplace,” Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool’s Chairman and CEO, said during a conference call to discuss earnings. “We’re very pleased with where we are.”
Whirlpool, the world’s largest appliance maker, raised its full year outlook, and shares jumped nearly 8 percent to $128.65 in afternoon trading.
Investors have been nervously searching for signs of growth in the world’s developed markets as China’s economy has slowed in recent quarters.
Whirlpool reported second-quarter profit of $198 million, or $2.44 a share, up from $113 million, or $1.43 a share, during the same period last year.
Excluding items, earnings per share were $2.37. Analysts, on average, expected $2.42 a share.
Sales at the maker of Whirlpool, Maytag and KitchenAid appliances rose 5.3 percent to $4.74 billion, compared with analysts’ estimates of $4.66 billion, according to Reuters data.
The company increased its full-year diluted earnings forecast to a range of $10.05 to $10.55 a share from $9.80 to $10.30. (Additional reporting by Mia Shanley and Sven Nordenstam in Stockholm; Editing by W Simon, Jeffrey Benkoe, Patricia Kranz and Marguerita Choy)