Whirlpool Gets Lesson That Some Trump Tariffs Are Good, Some Not

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(Bloomberg) -- Back in January, Whirlpool Corp. was singing the praises of President Donald Trump’s tariffs -- after they were slapped on the washing machines made by overseas rivals.

By April, however, the appliance maker was whistling a different tune.

Trump’s subsequent steel tariff and rising prices on resin will contribute to a jump of as much as $300 million in raw materials this year, Whirlpool said in its first-quarter earnings presentation. That’s $50 million more than what the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company predicted as recently as January.

Steel prices in particular have surged after Trump implemented a 25 percent tariff on imports in addition to a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. In the first quarter, the rising costs hit Whirlpool’s North American and European results by $25 million. The company’s Latin American division is taking a $15 million hit, while in Asia it’s $10 million, according to Whirlpool.

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc. and Wabco Holdings Inc., a supplier of braking, suspension and transmission systems to commercial vehicle manufacturers, have also complained this week about the added costs of raw materials.

“Over the last few months, raw-material costs have risen substantially,” Whirlpool Chief Executive Officer Marc Bitzer said on the company’s earnings call. “In addition to existing steel and aluminum tariffs, there continues to be uncertainty regarding potential future tariffs and trade actions.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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