Managing debt and recovering the loss of market share in Australia will be on the main agenda for Fisher & Paykel Appliances for the 2010/11 financial year.

This announcement follows the company’s review of its 2009/10 end financial year review at its 2010 Annual Shareholder Meeting that took place earlier this week.

Ralph Waters, Fisher & Paykel Appliances chairman, says it has been a difficult but a defining year for the company.

“The combination of reduced earnings, additional debt incurred to fund manufacturing relocations and delays in planned property sales, resulted in increased pressure on banking covenants,” Water says.

The company reported a normalised group profit after tax of $18 million and a loss of $83 million for the year, compared to a loss of $95 million for the previous year.

Waters explains that the business continues to experience the impact of the global recession with market demand conditions remaining weak for longer than anticipated, which was evident in the Australian market.

The company’s CEO and managing director Stuart Broadhurst pointed out that the Australian market continued to decline during the first quarter, with consumer confidence levels remaining subdued.

“Demand conditions, already weakened by the discontinuation of Government stimulus measures, have been further impacted in the run up to the Australian Federal Election,” he says.

The market demand in Australia is estimated to have declined by approximately 6 per cent in unit terms, in comparison to the corresponding period of last year.

Meanwhile, internationally, Fisher & Paykel has experienced mixed results as sales are up in the Middle East, Singapore and the Pacific region; however, European sales have remained subdued, in particular in the U.K. and Ireland.

“Market conditions in our key appliance markets continue to remain uncertain,” Broadhurst says.

“Our business is focused on expanding our global revenue opportunities, but these will take time to reach fruition. Cost containment, as ever, remains a priority.”