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Whirlpool posts higher first-quarter operating profit

April 25 (Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp said on Friday that its quarterly operating profit rose as strong sales increases in much of the world, including Europe and North America, offset weakness in Asia.

The world's largest maker of home appliances reported a first-quarter net profit of $160 million, or $2.02 per share, down from $252 million, or $3.12 a share, a year earlier.

But excluding a tax credit last year and restructuring costs this year, Whirlpool said it had earned $2.20 a share, up from $1.97.

The company, which sells its washers and dryers, stoves, and refrigerators under the Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air brand names, among others, said sales rose 4.7 percent to $4.4 billion.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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