Sales up but earnings down for Electrolux

Electrolux, the world's leading electrical appliance maker, reported a 53.2 percent fall in second quarter net earnings that it attributed to a rise in raw materials costs and delays in new product launches.

Shares in the Swedish group nonetheless rose 4.5 percent to 167 kronor in early trading, with investors focusing on a gain in sales that exceeded expert expectations.

Net earnings in the April-June period came to 545 million kronor ($82 million), down 53.2 percent from the same quarter last year.

But sales rose 1.8 percent to 25.78 billion kronor, beating expectations of 24.49 billion.

The company said that while it enjoyed strong sales volumes in Latin America the introduction of new products in Europe faced delays at a time when raw materials prices were rising.

At the operating level, profits rose 3.2 percent to reach 890 million kronor, reflecting strong sales in North and South America.

Electrolux predicted that operating profit this year would be “somewhat higher” than in 2006, when it came to 4.03 billion kronor.