STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Swedish appliance maker Electrolux AB on Wednesday said it made a profit of 664 million kronor ($92 million) in the fourth quarter, boosted mainly by price increases on its products as well as previously made cost cuts.
Still, the results, which managed to offset continued weak market demand and was a significant improvement from a loss of 474 million kronor in the same quarter a year earlier, disappointed the market somewhat with lower-than-expected margins and a cautious outlook.
The share plunged 11 percent to 161.10 kronor ($22.21) in early market trading on the Stockholm stock exchange.
The group, headquartered in the Swedish capital, reported fourth-quarter revenues of 28.2 billion kronor, down slightly from 28.7 billion kronor in the same three months a year ago.
One-off costs related primarily to the closing of plants, came to 1.2 billion kronor in the quarter. The year before, those costs reached 42 million kronor.
For the full year 2009, net profit came to 2.6 billion kronor, compared with 366 million kronor. The board also proposes a dividend of 4 kronor per share for 2009.
Electrolux CEO Hans Straberg described the annual result as "one of the best ever," attributing it to the launch of new products, strong brands, cost cuts and price increases.
Despite this, the group was careful in its future outlook, warning that it only expects "a modest improvement" in the market demand for appliances in 2010. "There are no indications of a strong recovery in any of the group's main markets," it said.
Evli Bank analyst Michael Andersson said the earnings were somewhat worse-than-expected, noting the market "had probably expected too much too fast," since the group showed grand margin improvements in both the second and the third quarters. "But they (Electrolux) were very strong then," he said.