Anecdotal support for twin themes of declining domestic demand augmented by booming export demand, and rising prices:

Whirlpool’s Maytag buy pays off in 4Q

by James Prichard

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Whirlpool Corp. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit climbed 72 percent, helped by its Maytag acquisition, an improved product mix and the weak dollar.

Its net earnings for all of 2007 rose 48 percent.

The appliance maker, which bought Maytag in 2006, said earnings after preferred dividends increased to $187 million, or $2.38 per share, compared with $109 million, or $1.37 per share, in the prior year.

Quarterly revenue grew 7 percent to $5.33 billion from $5 billion a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected net income of $2.15 per share on sales of $5.27 billion.

The company performed well despite flat domestic sales and continued price increases for raw materials, said Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool’s chairman and chief executive.

“Our performance in this environment highlights the strength of our global brands and the geographic diversity of our global operating platform,” he said in a written statement.

Whirlpool North America sales slipped less than 1 percent to $3 billion, while sales in its European segment rose 12 percent to $1.1 billion. Latin America sales surged about 30 percent to more than $1 billion. Whirlpool Asia sales grew 26 percent to $155 million.

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