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Whirlpool's 2Q Profits Jump 13 Percent

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Whirlpool Corp., helped by continued growth in its North American and European businesses and improvement by its Latin American division, posted a 13 percent increase in second-quarter profits.

Whirlpool said Wednesday that it earned $106 million, or $1.53 per share, in the three months ended June 30. That compared with $94 million, or $1.35 per share, in the year-ago period.

The latest results were 4 cents higher than the consensus forecast of $1.49 per share by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Sales reached $3.26 billion, up 9.2 percent from the $2.99 billion reported in the year-ago period. Excluding currency translations, net sales increased approximately 8 percent.

``Demand has been strong in all markets, but rising material costs, material availability and transportation constraints have made this a challenging operating environment,'' said Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool's chairman, president and chief executive. ``Our global operations effectively managed these issues during the quarter, which led to our strong performance.''

For the first half of 2004, the Benton Harbor-based company had profits of $207 million, or $2.96 per share, up 10.9 percent from the $185 million, or $2.67 per share, reported for last year's January-through-June period.

Whirlpool's sales during the first six months of this year totaled $6.27 billion, up 9.9 percent from the $5.71 billion in the year-ago period. Excluding currency translations, year-to-date sales increased about 7 percent.
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