Record revenues of $20.9 BILLION, an increase of 18% without currency
Record ongoing earnings per share of $12.38, an increase of 9%
Strong free cash flow generation of $620 MILLION
We achieved these results through a strong focus and decisive action plans in a global environment that saw rapid changes. Emerging market demand declined significantly, most prominently in Brazil and Russia. Additionally, the U.S. dollar rapidly strengthened against most global currencies. These changes, if left unchecked, would have resulted in nearly $4 billion of lost revenue and $6 per share in lost earnings, a shock greater than the global financial crisis of 2008. However, by executing against our strategy and focusing on what we can control, we were able to take the actions required to offset these headwinds and deliver record results.
This level of earnings and cash performance has allowed us to create long-term shareholder value by appropriately balancing investments in our business with returning cash to our shareholders. During 2015, we invested nearly $700 million in capital expenditures to fund our innovation pipeline for the future. We also increased the dividend by 20 percent and bought back $250 million in shares. Finally, we purchased American Dryer Corporation to expand our presence in a value-creating adjacent business. As a result of these investments, we ended the year with a strong balance sheet and increased investment capacity to allow us to build an even stronger future for our company.
Global Product and Brand Leadership
During the past year, we made bold moves to reshape our global operating footprint, respond to shifts in the operating environment and invest in our brands and products. We made substantial progress toward integrating Indesit in Europe and Hefei Sanyo in China, acquisitions that will deliver nearly $400 million of cost synergies and create leading positions in those regions.
Additionally, we continued to invest in new product introductions and in the equity of our leading brand portfolio, which currently contains seven brands that each generate more than $1 billion in annual sales. These investments have allowed us to launch more than 100 innovative new products in 2015. Our portfolio has breadth and consumer preference that are unmatched in the industry.
People Excellence: The Key to Executing our Plans
As we demonstrated in 2015, we have an expanded global operating platform with unmatched scale, an industry-leading innovation pipeline, strong brand and product portfolios and great leadership teams with experienced leaders in all global markets. Our nearly 100,000 employees are our greatest competitive advantage, and their commitment and passion for our products, brands and customers have been essential to our ability to continue delivering record results. Because of those plans and the leaders who execute them, we are well equipped to deal with these levels of global volatility and create value for our shareholders.
As a result, we will continue executing our value-creating strategies, which are unchanged. Our focus will be on investing in growth in all of our markets globally, delivering consumer-relevant brand and product innovation and executing our best cost structures to expand operating margins and grow revenues.
$ in billions
Ongoing business Diluted earnings per share*
Free Cash Flow*
$ in Millions
*Non-GAAP measure; see page 40 of the PDF for reconciliation.
**Total debt divided by debt and stockholders’ equity.
As we look forward, we believe that the economic challenges we successfully faced in 2015 will carry into 2016. While overall GDP growth will likely be moderate, we expect that emerging markets will continue to be weak, partially offset by strength in developed markets. The strong dollar era that we’re experiencing is also likely to continue into the coming year.
It is important to note that the many exciting opportunities in front of us are often lost in news about emerging market demand and currency impacts. We continue to see multiple years of strong demand in the United States fueled by growth in housing, a multi-year replacement cycle and improvements in consumer sentiment. Our brand and product portfolio in North America have positioned us well to capture that demand. Western Europe is also showing good signs of economic recovery that are leading to appliance industry demand and our transformed position in Europe provides us with ample opportunities for growth in the region.
By executing our strategy and operating plans, we expect to grow our earnings per share by 15 percent and generate between $700 and $800 million in free cash flow in 2016. These results represent meaningful progress toward our 2018 goals, with growth rates at or above the industry through our strong brands and historic levels of new product innovation.
“Although the environment in which we operate continues to be volatile, what it takes for us to succeed in that environment has not changed. Our vision has been, and continues to be, becoming the best branded consumer products company in every home around the world.”
The Best Branded Consumer Products … in Every Home Around the World
Although the environment in which we operate continues to be volatile, what it takes for us to succeed in that environment has not changed. Our vision has been, and continues to be, becoming the best branded consumer products company in every home around the world. By executing our strategies centered on this vision, we can be successful in creating value in any environment.
As we move forward into 2016, we’ve built a tremendous global platform for growth, we have a brand portfolio through which we can execute industry-leading innovation and we’ll continue to balance funding for all aspects of our business to ensure the best long-term value creation for all of our shareholders.
On behalf of my colleagues at Whirlpool Corporation, I thank you for your continued support and look forward to another year of record results.
Jeff M. Fettig
Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer