A Message from Marc Bitzer
Chairman & CEO
It was my fervent hope that my message to you last year about “2020 being a year like none before,” would be a one-time anomaly. The reality is that 2021 was yet another year full of new business challenges and learning to rationally and emotionally deal with the continued presence of COVID in our everyday lives.
Sadly, the human toll of the pandemic impacted our company as global case numbers among our employees mirrored the staggering global COVID statistics in many ways. Despite all efforts to keep our employees safe and the strong encouragement to get vaccinated, we lost 32 colleagues to COVID, a tragic loss for our Whirlpool family.
Our global economy was disrupted in different ways as the pandemic’s intensity rippled around the world. Massive supply chain challenges driven by labor and component shortages coupled with major transportation issues impacted our factories throughout the entire year. This caused understandable frustrations among our trade customers and consumers waiting for our appliances for far too long.
While difficult to find any bright side to a pandemic, our company’s passion to succeed was fueled by the fact that our consumers have needed and used our appliances more than ever before. In fact, our connected appliance data shows people are using washers 50% more often and cooking products 150% more—this dramatic increase in everyday usage will ultimately lead to higher replacement rates in the future. Together with the longer-term nesting trends we’re seeing among consumers and a willingness to invest in home-related products, the demand for appliances and peripheries will be strong for years to come.
Raising Our long-term value creation goals
Achieving These Goals Will Continue to Drive Significant Total Shareholder Return
|Sales (Annual Organic Net Sales Growth Excluding Currency)||Ongoing EBIT(a) (Ongoing Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, % of Net Sales)||FCF(a) (Annual Free Cash Flow as % of Net Sales)||ROIC (Return on Invested Capital)|
|Updated Long-Term (Annual Expectations)||Sales (Annual Organic Net Sales Growth Excluding Currency): 5-6%||Ongoing EBIT(a) (Ongoing Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, % of Net Sales): 11-12%||FCF(a) (Annual Free Cash Flow as % of Net Sales): 7-8%||ROIC (Return on Invested Capital): 15-16%|
|Previous Long-Term (Annual Expectations)||Sales (Annual Organic Net Sales Growth Excluding Currency): ~3%||Ongoing EBIT(a) (Ongoing Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, % of Net Sales): ~10%||FCF(a) (Annual Free Cash Flow as % of Net Sales): 6%+||ROIC (Return on Invested Capital): 12-14%|
Doing the Right Thing
During times like these, it’s not surprising that employees and companies look for meaningful purpose in what they are doing every day. At Whirlpool, ours is crystal clear to all our employees: Being the best kitchen and laundry company in the world, in constant pursuit of improving life at home. Our vision has never been more meaningful, and we celebrate that!
It is also during times like these that company values are truly visible and relevant. Our 110 years of history created exceptionally strong roots and values which guide our everyday actions. Be it our public commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2030, or the continued support of United Way® and Habitat for Humanity International®, our longstanding reputation for “doing the right thing” is recognized everywhere. We are particularly proud of recent accolades including being named fourth among Newsweek’s “America’s Most Responsible Companies.”
Staying Focused on Our Strategic Imperatives
Keeping true to our plan….
- Deliver Product Leadership
More than ever, we must invest in consumer-relevant innovation and manufacturing on a global scale. Leveraging innovation for premium and mass categories in different launches, as we did this year for the launch of the industry-first washer with 2-in-1 Removable Agitator, was very successful. With high demand today in our premium products, we will continue to expand our approach in product leadership.
- Re-define What Product Is
We continue to enter and expand new ecosystems and generate new revenue streams beyond our traditional market shares, as IoT gains adoption. The integration of both the Swash and Yummly brands in our appliances are expected to provide high consumer value, particularly as more people nest at home.
- Win the Digital Consumer Journey
Due to consumer trends forged at the start of the pandemic and as the world adapts to more digital technologies, we are able to understand and serve our consumers better than ever. Our direct to consumer business has proved to be the fastest growing sales channel globally.
- Reinvent Our Value Chain
Our consumer service platforms and home delivery networks created competitive advantages in all regions, and World Class Manufacturing, digital and industry 4.0 technologies in our factories allowed us to make a step change in sustained cost and quality competitiveness.
Total Annual Revenue
Ongoing EBIT Margin(a)
Delivering an All-Time Record Financial Performance
2021 was the fourth all-time record year in a row—and what a record it was: we grew our business by 13% to $22B revenues, we delivered record ongoing EBIT margins of 10.8%, and our adjusted free cash flow came up to $2B.
We also returned $1.4B of this cash to shareholders through dividends (the ninth consecutive year of raising our dividend) and share buy-backs. The total shareholder return (TSR) for 2021 was 33%, and the three-year TSR was also solid at 141%.
Our updated long-term value creation goals which we communicated in October of 2021 demonstrate our confidence in being able to maintain and even improve these impressive results in the future.
Looking Into the Near Term Future
As we turn the page to 2022, many macro uncertainties remain, the accelerating inflation being the most concerning one. We have taken decisive action on both the cost and pricing side to mitigate the inflationary pressures and feel confident about our ability to deliver yet another great financial result in 2022.
At the same time we have invested resources toward our strategic capabilities and expanded our supply chain capacity to fully leverage the expected strong consumer demand for years to come.
Last, let me take this opportunity to thank you, our shareholders, for your continued trust in us, and I also want to thank all our 69,000 employees around the world for relentlessly working to improve life at home for the millions of our loyal consumers.
Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer
- (a)For more information on the adjustments and additional reconciliations of non-GAAP measures, such as adjusted free cash flow, gross debt to ongoing EBITDA, ongoing earnings per share and ongoing earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, see pages 36-40 of the 2021 Form 10-K included with this annual report, or the document titled “GAAP Reconciliations” at Investors.WhirlpoolCorp.com/financial-information/annual-reports. For a reconciliation of Asia revenue growth excluding the impact of our Whirlpool China divestiture, please see the “GAAP Reconciliations” document.
- (b)See Financial Highlights above for the applicable non-GAAP to GAAP reconciliations. Based on the change of our accounting principle, we have recasted our financials, including ROIC for the years 2019 and 2020, as set forth in our Form 8-K filed April 22, 2021.