STOCKHOLM-Improvements in the sales mix along with a watchful eye on expenses bolstered Electrolux’s bottom line in the fourth quarter ending on Dec. 31.
The multinational manufacturer posted a 32.1 percent gain in net income to SK292 million. Translated to U.S. dollars, Electrolux’s bottom line totaled $43.2 million, up 30.4 percent. For all of 2012, net income gained 25.9 percent to SK2.6 billion—$400.3 million, up 31 percent in U.S. dollars.
The company accomplished this despite a tepid sales gain of 2.9 percent to SK29.2 billion ($4.3 billion, up 1.5 percent). Reflecting the gain in price/mix, gross margin in the quarter rose 319 basis points to 21.4 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 1.1 percent in the Swedish currency but dropped 27 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 15.8 percent.
Keith McLoughlin, Electrolux’s president and CEO, cited the North American market as a strong contributor in terms of sales and price/mix. “Operations in North America reported yet another quarter of volume growth, thereby yielding an improved market share for the full year 2012,” McLoughlin said. He added that, at present, the Americas now account for more than 50 percent of the company’s total sales, up from 35 percent five years ago.
For the year as a whole, net sales increased 8.3 percent to SK110 billion. In U.S. dollars, sales were up 12.7 percent to $16.9 billion.
McLoughlin said North America should continue to strengthen as a market for Electrolux products. “We anticipate growth in the North American market in 2013, supported by a gradual recovery in the housing market,” he said.