EVP and Chief Financial Officer
Our Financial Strength
of Dividend Increases
Our Financial Position
In 2021, we delivered our fourth consecutive year of record performance in a challenging environment, serving as another proof point of our value-creating business model. We delivered these results while strengthening our balance sheet, streamlining our portfolio, investing for growth and returning significant levels of cash to our shareholders. This was made possible by strong execution and decisive actions taken by our global teams.
Our deep understanding of the business and the actions we took early in 2021 enabled us to deliver record revenues of $22 billion and record ongoing EPS(a) of $26.59. We grew revenues by 13% while delivering our highest-ever ongoing EBIT margin(a) of 10.8%, fully offsetting $1 billion of raw material inflation with cost-based price increases and cost-takeout initiatives. We further strengthened our balance sheet by achieving a debt leverage level below our target of 2.0x; we also streamlined our portfolio with the divestiture of our Whirlpool China and Whirlpool Turkey businesses. Lastly, we successfully generated record levels of cash delivering adjusted free cash flow(a) of $2 billion, led by strong earnings.
Returning Cash to Shareholders
We returned $1.4 billion to shareholders in 2021, demonstrating our clear focus on shareholder returns. We increased dividends for the ninth consecutive year and repurchased $1 billion of shares in 2021.
Increased Long-Term Value Creation Goals
In 2021, we announced new and increased long-term value creation goals, as we consistently delivered results at or above our previous long-term value creation targets. We are a 110-year-old company with a legacy of success and a vision anchored on improving life at home. Our new value creation goals build on our strong foundation, but reflect that we are, today, a very different Whirlpool, operating in a very different world. We now expect:
- Revenue to grow at a rate of 5% to 6%, almost doubling our previous goal of approximately 3%;
- EBIT margin of 11% to 12%, up from previous expectations of approximately 10%;
- Free cash flow as a percent of net sales of 7% to 8%, up from 6% plus; and
- Return on invested capital of 15% to 16%, an increase from our previous target of 12% to 14%.
We are confident in our future success and that achieving these goals will continue to drive significant shareholder return.
Funding the Business
Our commitment to fund innovation and growth in the future remains unchanged, demonstrated by our investment of over $1 billion in capital expenditures and research and development in 2021. This includes product innovations like our industry-leading, externally recognized, first-of-its kind 2-in-1 Removable Agitator in our top load laundry machine in North America and the launch of new products in EMEA, such as our new built-in refrigerator, which was recognized as the quietest built-in refrigerator in the marketplace.
We have also funded business innovations like our Whirlpool direct-to-consumer business, which represents our fastest growing distribution channel—an area that we will continue to expand moving forward.
In closing, and as we look beyond 2021, we have continued to demonstrate that our business is a structurally different Whirlpool from just 10 years ago and well-positioned to, again, build on our record results. Our new long-term value creation goals reflect our confidence in a different Whirlpool and in our commitment to fund innovation and growth, together with a clear focus on returning significant levels of cash to our shareholders.
EVP and Chief Financial 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.