31 May 2010

F and P Appliances chief talks up prospects

9:26 am on 31 May 2010

Fisher & Paykel Appliances says it's well placed to benefit from improving global economic conditions, but it will face challengers.

The whiteware manufacturer lost $83 million in the year to March, though that was a 12.5% improvement on the previous year's loss of $95 million.

Managing director Stuart Broadhurst says that, while trading conditions remain difficult in the United States, the company's expecting a pickup now that it has restructured and released new products.

Mr Broadhurst says the company has also expanded into two new US department store chains - Sears and Lowe's - opened its first store in China and had high product distribution in New Zealand and Australia.

Fisher and Paykel Appliances has implemented a global manufacturing strategy, which includes shifting manufacturing plants to cheaper locations. Mr Broadhurst says the full benefits of that are yet to be fully felt.

Shares in the company were unchanged at 55 cents on Friday after the year's loss was reported. Impairments and valuation changes of $102 million hit the company's bottom line.

Mr Broadhurst says issues such as the cost associated with the company's debt are now behind it. Two properties remain for sale, the proceeds from which will be used to reduce debt.