Whirlpool Corporation announced today first-quarter GAAP net earnings of $160 million, or $2.02 per diluted share, compared to $252 million, or $3.12 per diluted share, reported for the same prior-year period. Prior-year GAAP net earnings included $1.04 per diluted share of benefits from U.S. energy tax credits. Ongoing business earnings per diluted share increased to$2.20, compared to $1.97 in the prior-year period, mainly driven by higher sales, ongoing cost productivity and the benefit of cost and capacity-reduction initiatives.
Net sales in the quarter were $4.4 billion compared to $4.2 billion during the same prior-year period. Excluding the impact of both foreign currency and Brazilian tax credits, sales increased approximately 6 percent.
Jeff Fettig is Chairman & CEO of Whirlpool Corporatin. He says, "We are very pleased with the progress we made in the first-quarter driving revenue growth, expanding margins and investing in our business." He added, "We remain committed to delivering our operating profit margin, earnings per share and free cash flow guidance for the year."
Record first-quarter GAAP operating profit totaled $281 million, compared to $254 million in the same prior-year period. Ongoing business operating profit totaled a record $302 million, 6.9 percent of sales, compared to $280 million, 6.6 percent of sales, in the same prior-year period. Higher sales, favorable product price and mix, ongoing cost productivity and the benefit of cost and capacity-reduction initiatives more than offset higher material costs, foreign currency and increased investments in marketing, technology and products.
During the three months ended March 31, 2014, the company reported cash used in operating activities of $(339) million compared to $(305) million in the prior-year period. On a year-to-date basis, Whirlpool Corporation reported free cash flow use of $(456) million, compared to free cash flow use of $(376) million in the same prior-year period.
The company has also reaffirmed its expectation for full-year net earnings per diluted share available to Whirlpool of $11.05 to $11.55. The company continues to expect to report full-year ongoing business earnings per diluted share of $12.00 to $12.50.
For the full-year 2014, the company expects to generate free cash flow of approximately $700 million. Included in this guidance are restructuring cash outlays of up to $150 million, capital spending of $625 million to $675 million and U.S. pension contributions of approximately $160 million.
"We remain confident in our ability to deliver a record year of performance in 2014 and in our long-term growth strategy," said Fettig. "We are increasing investments in our business and continuing to enhance returns to our shareholders as evidenced by our recently announced dividend increase and share repurchase program."