Whirlpool’s full-year profit forecast misses estimate

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(Reuters) – Whirlpool Corp (WHR.N) posted a steep slowdown in sales for the fourth quarter and its full-year profit forecast fell short of market expectations as the home appliances maker struggles with higher costs of raw material such as steel.

To offset the higher material costs, Whirlpool had said in October it would raise prices on come products through the fourth quarter and current quarter, which is expected to impact more than half of its business.

Whirlpool, whose products include laundry appliances, refrigerators and cooking appliances, said it expects an adjusted profit of $14.50 to $15.50 per share for 2018.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $15.52 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Whirlpool, which owns brands such as KitchenAid and Maytag, were down 0.5 percent in after hours trading.

Whirlpool posted a loss of $268 million for the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $180 million a year earlier, hit by a charge of about $420 million related to the U.S. tax reforms.

On an adjusted basis, it earned $4.10 a share, handily beating analysts’ average estimate of $3.99.

But, the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company’s revenue rose 0.8 percent to $5.70 billion, much slower than the 3.2 percent increase to $5.84 billion that Wall Street was expecting.

The results come two days after U.S. President Donald Trump slapped steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, benefiting Whirlpool and dealing a heavy blow to rivals Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and LG Electronics (066570.KS).

Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza