24 Aug 2010

Fisher and Paykel looks to Asian markets

8:52 am on 24 August 2010

Fisher & Paykel Appliances hopes to generate a greater proportion of its revenue from Asia in the coming years amid lower sales of its whiteware.

The appliance maker says sales fell 11% in the first quarter, and it expects full year earnings to be at the lower end of the markets' forecasts of between $45 million and $52 million.

The company says any recovery in the US and New Zealand markets is likely to be further delayed, and demand in the Australian market is forecast to remain subdued.

Chief executive Stuart Broadhurst says while sales in China have been slower than expected, Asia will become a greater revenue earner.

The company says earnings from its finance arm will be at the top end of the broker consensus range of between $25 million and $34 million.

Meanwhile, Fisher & Paykel Appliances will replace half its board as four directors, including the chairman, are due to retire over the next year.

At the company's annual meeting on Monday, shareholders agreed to lift the directors fee pool by $350,000 to $1.2 million, which the company says is needed to attract new talent.

Some shareholders questioned the move, given the share price has tumbled over the last year and no dividend has been paid.

Fisher & Paykel says it's unlikely to pay a half year dividend, but it would consider paying one at the year end.