Electrolux posts upbeat forecast

Swedish white goods firm Electrolux on Tuesday exceeded analyst profit forecasts for the first quarter of 2010 and projected a positive year as key markets begin to recover.

The world’s second biggest appliance maker behind Whirlpool of the US, Electrolux said its net profit for the January-March period was 911 million Kronor ($127 million dollars), more than reversing a loss of 346 million kronor in 2009.

Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a net profit of 609 million kronor.

“Electrolux’s main markets showed solid recoveries during the first quarter of 2010,” the company said, with North America up for a second consecutive quarter and Europe steady after ten quarters of decline.

As for outlook, the maker of refrigerators, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners said “market demand for appliances in the group’s main markets is expected to continue to grow throughout the rest of 2010.”

Electrolux’s sales slipped to 25.13 billion kronor from 25.82 billion kronor in the first quarter of 2009.

The company said, however, that sales volumes had in fact grown, led by North America, but that changes in exchange rates dragged down the sales figure.

In a separate statement, chief executive Hans Stråberg warned that prices of certain raw materials continued to rise.

“When the global economy picks up the pace, we expect even higher raw-material prices,” he said.

Electrolux shares were down 0.98 percent to 182 kronor on a Stockholm Stock Exchange down 0.79 percent in early trade.

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