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In a further step toward fulfilling its corporate social responsibility, Whirlpool Corp. (WHR - Analyst Report) has initiated the use of a more environment friendly and energy efficient technology in U.S. manufactured refrigerators and freezers.

This largest global home-appliances manufacturer has recently partnered with Honeywell International Inc. (HON - Analyst Report) to transform the currently used 245fa foam blowing agent technology at its U.S. manufacturing plants with the latter’s Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA). The conversion is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The new blowing agent technology has the capability of reducing global warming potential (GWP) by 99.9% in comparison to 245fa technology. Once the technological conversion is completed, its impact on the global warming will be equivalent to 400,000 lesser cars on the road.

Honeywell’s liquid blowing agent technology does not harm the ozone layer and has GWP of 1 equivalent to carbon dioxide. These specific features enable customers to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising with the product’s performance.

In a separate news development, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Whirlpool has decided to shut down its microwave-oven plant in Norrkoping, Sweden, to minimize costs. The production of microwave-ovens will now take place in the company’s plants in Cassinetta, Italy, and Cleveland in Tennessee. The Swedish plant closure will result in 323 job losses, while the Cleveland plant is expected to employ 30 more people.

Over the last 102 years, Whirlpool has emerged the leading manufacturer and supplier of major home appliances due to its sustained focus on launching innovative products and incorporating technological advancements. It is considered the largest home appliance manufacturer in the world, ahead of Electrolux AB (ELUXY), LG, Samsung, General Electric Co. (GE - Analyst Report) and Haier Electronics Group Co. Ltd. Moreover, the company is placed among the major home appliance makers in India and Europe.

However, we remain slightly cautious over the company’s near-term outlook based on sluggish economic recovery and fluctuating raw material prices. Moreover, limited clientele is another factor that can limit its growth in the future.

Currently, Whirlpool has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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