Smart home ecosystem will prove crucial
Two days back, President Trump announced safeguard tariffs on foreign imports of washer machines and solar cells and modules. Part of his ‘America First’ campaign, this was a move intended to protect domestic manufacturers. And American appliance maker Whirlpool seems set to benefit greatly from this.
The gist of the announcement was this. President Trump approved three-years of tariffs of up to 50 percent on large residential washers and up to 30 percent on solar panels. This is a penalty clearly aimed at imports from rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. And face it, it’s sweet timing for Whirlpool, which is based in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Interestingly, following the announcement Whirlpool Corp. announced it was adding 200 jobs, at their facility in Clyde, Ohio. They also vowed to make broader investments in manufacturing and innovation. The global appliance maker has three manufacturing plants in the US, namely Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Massachusetts.
Trade and domestic manufacturing were signature issues in Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House, and Whirlpool Chief Executive Officer Jeff Fettig had served as a member of the president’s manufacturing council.
One key offshoot of the announcement was the 5 percent hike in Whirlpool shares yesterday. Given the momentum, K. Snyder, equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ, told CBS News that Whirlpool shares which currently trade at $171 a share, could touch $210 over the next 12 months. Key to that scenario would be the smart home ecosystem, and its connected appliances. This was in fact Whirlpools key showcase at CES 2018, with Voice Assistant integration, Virtual Dash buttons et al.