Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE:WHR) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Oct 23, 2019 • 08:00 am ET
Good morning, and welcome to Whirlpool Corporation's Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Release Call. Today's call is being recorded.
For opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Senior Director of Investor Relations, Roxanne Warner.
Thank you, and welcome to our third quarter 2019 conference call. Joining me today are Marc Bitzer, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Peters, our Chief Financial Officer. Our remarks today track with the presentation available on the Investor section of our website at whirlpoolcorp.com.
Before we begin, I'll remind you that as we conduct this call, we will be making forward-looking statements to assist you in understanding Whirlpool Corporation's future expectations. Our actual results could differ materially from these statements due to many factors discussed in our latest 10-K and other periodic reports.
We want to remind you that today's presentation includes non-GAAP measures. We believe these measures are important indicators of our operations as they exclude items that may not be indicative of results from our ongoing business operations. We also think the adjusted measures will provide you a better baseline for analyzing trends in our ongoing business operations. Listeners are directed to the supplemental information package posted on the Investor Relations section of our website for the reconciliation of non-GAAP items to the most directly comparable GAAP measures.
With that, I'll turn the call over to Marc.
Thanks, and good morning everyone. On Slide 3, we show our third quarter 2019 highlights. We delivered very solid global results with ongoing EBIT margin of 7.2%, a 100 basis point increase compared to the prior year. We were pleased with our first-half performance and continue that positive momentum this quarter. These results represent our third consecutive quarter of global margin expansion as we progress towards our full year and long-term goals.
In North America, we delivered impressive margin expansion through strong price mix, execution and focused cost discipline. In Europe, we drove near-breakeven ongoing EBIT results as momentum from our strategic actions to stabilize volumes and rightsize our business drove strong year-over-year and sequential improvement. Given our strong year-to-date performance, which we expect to continue, we are confident that we're trending towards the high end of our full year ongoing earnings per share range of $14.75 to $15.50.
Lastly, in August, we paid down our $1 billion term loan, which resulted in significant progress towards our long-term leverage target of approximately 2.0. In total, we are very pleased with our momentum year-to-date.
Turning to Slide 4. I will discuss our third quarter results in more detail. We delivered organic net sales growth, which excludes the impact of Embraco and currency of approximately 2%. Ongoing EBIT margin was 7.2% for the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 100 basis points as positive price mix and focused cost discipline more than offset the impact of slightly lower unit volumes. Our nine-month free cash flow reflects normative narrative cash usage and was impacted by our planned settlement payment to the French