Whirlpool: ‘Mission accomplished’ on trade issue
Whirlpool Corporation issued a statement Tuesday declaring that it would conclude its involvement in the current refrigeration appeal over illegal appliance trade activity, having received a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of International Trade.
In the decision, the Court ruled that the U.S. International Trade Commission had made significant errors in a 2012 trade remedy decision involving refrigerators imported from South Korea by LG and Samsung between 2008 and 2011. Whirlpool had filed a complaint in 2011 claiming that the appliances were being sold — or dumped — in the U.S. below fair market value.
In the statement, Whirlpool concluded that it was satisfied with having brought the activity to the government’s attention.
"Because of our actions, there is no longer any doubt that dumping occurred and is occurring, both for washers and refrigerators," said Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool Corporation. "We are encouraged that the Court ruled there were mistakes made by the Trade Commission in not finding injury in the refrigeration case, particularly after the Commission determined that U.S. appliance workers and consumers were harmed by foreign competitors’ unlawful washer trade actions."
Following the Court’s decision, the U.S. government will impose tariffs on appliance imports.
"Since we filed the refrigerator case, the U.S. marketplace, the products, prices and the countries of supply have changed," continued Fettig. "Rather than pursue an appeal based on outdated data, we will put our energies toward continuing to monitor the U.S. appliance marketplace, evaluating potentially faster and more effective paths to achieve trade remedies and, when necessary, taking actions to defend U.S. manufacturing, innovation and consumers. Our focus remains on winning with consumers through developing innovative products, building strong brands and executing our long-term growth strategy with a commitment to ensuring that trade law is enforced for all."
USG and Boral joint venture on track, but delayed
The USG Corporation/Boral Limited joint venture, which was originally slated for completion Jan. 31, has been delayed about a month over regulatory procedures.
The completion of the 50/50 strategic joint venture is now expected to occur on or before Feb. 28, 2014.
The joint venture, to be named USG Boral Building Products, will include Boral’s Gypsum division, which includes its plasterboard operations in Australia and Asia, and USG’s Asian and Middle Eastern businesses.
The move is aimed at harnessing both companies’ branding, geographic footprint and positioning within the burgeoning plasterboard market.
Q4 sales and earnings decline at Plum Creek
Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber Co. posted fourth-quarter earnings of $40 million, down from $79 million in the same quarter last year.
Sales in the fourth quarter were $331 million, down 6.9% from $354 million.
Results for the fourth quarter include $12 million of expenses directly related to the completion of the company’s December acquisition of timberland, real estate, and subsurface resources from MeadWestvaco Corp.
“Over the course of the past year, results have improved significantly in our timber resources, manufacturing and non-timber resource businesses,” said Rick Holley, CEO. “Importantly, we achieved our goal of growing the adjusted EBITDA from these three business segments by approximately $50 million. We completed a very good fourth quarter, with earnings coming in at the high-end of our initial expectations after taking into consideration the expenses related to closing the acquisition. Momentum is building, and we are well positioned to grow the company’s overall cash flow in 2014."
For the full year, earnings were $214 million, up 5.4% from $203 million in the previous year. Full-year revenues of $1.34 billion were essentially flat.