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CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Electrolux beats forecasts as stay-at-home trend spurs home appliance sales

(Corrects in paragraph 2 to “demand” from “sales”)

* Proposes raised dividend of 8 SEK/share, matches expectations

* Q4 operating profit 2.5 bln SEK vs consensus 2.3 bln

* Sees higher demand yr/yr across markets in H1 2021

* Expects to pass on higher raw material costs to customers

STOCKHOLM, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Electrolux beat fourth quarter profit forecasts on Tuesday as consumers spending more time at home during lockdowns splashed out on domestic appliances.

The Swedish group also increased its dividend and said demand in the first half of this year should be higher than last year.

Europe’s biggest player in the sector reported a fourth-quarter operating profit of 2.50 billion crowns ($297 million), up from a year-earlier 960 million. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had on average forecast a 2.34 billion crown profit.

“Sales continued to benefit from consumers allocating more of their household budgets to home improvement and we also executed well on price and mix,” Chief Executive Jonas Samuelson said in a statement.

The group, which in March spun off its unit Electrolux Professional, proposed a dividend of 8 crowns per share for 2020, up from 7 crowns for 2019 and in line with expectations.

The rival of U.S. Whirlpool said a continued stay-at-home trend due to COVID-19 combined with low inventories at retailers meant demand was likely to be higher in the first half of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020.

It said it expected higher prices to compensate for raw material headwinds in 2021.

$1 = 8.4174 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Johannes Hellstrom, Simon Johnson and Susan Fenton

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