Whirlpool Looks to Air, Rail to Alleviate Supply-Chain Pressure
(Bloomberg) -- Whirlpool Corp. is moving more goods by air and rail as snarled shipping lines disrupt operations for manufacturers across the globe.
The maker of refrigerators and washing machines cited supply-chain woes Thursday as it reported sales that fell short of Wall Street’s estimates. In particular, the company is struggling to secure semiconductors and other components, according to Chief Financial Officer Jim Peters. Whirlpool decreased its forecast for net sales growth this year while boosting earnings guidance.
“Obviously, ocean freight lanes and ports have been clogged,” Peters said in an interview. “There have been times when we’ve had to air-freight components in from other locations to work around that. We’ve put product from China to Europe on rail instead of ships.”
The supply-chain challenges are slowing momentum after Whirlpool benefited from a surge in home-improvement spending during the pandemic. While Peters said demand remains elevated, the company has had to raise prices to account for increased raw materials and transportation costs.
Whirlpool shares fell 3.9% at 4:18 p.m. after regular trading in New York. The stock climbed 15% this year through Thursday’s close.
Sales in the third quarter rose to $5.5 billion, according to a statement. That fell short of the $5.7 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue in its two largest regions -- North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa -- also missed expectations.
For the full year, Whirlpool said it expects net sales to increase 13%, down from a prior estimate of 16%. It increased the forecast for ongoing earnings per share to $26.25.
“We’re navigating through an environment that’s challenging, but we’re very pleased with our ability to deal with that,” Peters said. “We see 2022 having many of the same things that need to be dealt with as 2020 and 2021. But we’re a different Whirlpool.”
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