Whirlpool announced its quarterly financial results today and Ryan Fuhrmann over at the MotleyFool seems to think that Whirlpool might just be a stock to invest in these days.
Although the company is reporting growth on overseas markets like Brazil (12%) and India (5-10%), it anticipates shrinking in its core North American and European markets (down 2-3%). The retreating housing market and tightening economy limit the available market size, and the company depends on a small group of stores (Sears, Lowes, Home Depot and Best Buy) for most of its sales.
So why buy if the company is shrinking? Because the company expects to get more efficient and cut down its cost base. Management expects to wring out hundreds of millions in “significant efficiencies” over the next couple of years, culminating in $400 million in projected savings in 2008. Where will these efficiencies come from? Whirlpool is counting on cost-cutting from last year’s acquisition of arch-rival Maytag.
With the acquisition Whirlpool“>Whirlpool wiped out a major competitor and boosted its place as a dominant appliance supplier. Hopefully its efficiencies and cost cutting will come in to form of eliminating redundancies, and not in the form of dropping engineering and manufacturing standards.
Time, and customer feedback will tell.
Over at the FOOL Ryan writes:
Fortunately, Whirlpool“>Whirlpool has proven adept at introducing appealing new products and controls a number of well-respected brands, namely Whirlpool, Kenmore, and KitchenAid, as well as Maytag, Jenn-Air, and Amana (acquired from Maytag). Overall, I believe a seasoned operating model, reasonable valuation, cost-cutting opportunities, and international growth prospects outweigh concerns about slow domestic growth and near-term housing woes.
So buy the stock, but keep an eye on the forums to see if you should buy Whirlpool products.