Whirlpool Corp on Monday reported a surprising quarterly profit after cost-cutting efforts helped the world's biggest appliance maker offset a slump in global sales.

The maker of Maytag and KitchenAid appliances also backed its 2009 profit forecast of $3 to $4 a share.

Whirlpool, which has been in talks with banks about renewing credit lines, has frozen salaries, reduced its contribution to retirement plans and taken other steps to cut costs.

In April, the company announced plans to close its washing machine manufacturing facility in Shanghai to consolidate its Chinese operations.

Last week, Whirlpool's largest rival, Sweden's Electrolux , swung to an unexpected first-quarter core profit, bolstered by its tough cost-cutting measures.

Whirlpool, whose other brands include Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul and Bauknechtand, reported first-quarter earnings of $68 million, or 91 cents a share, compared with $94 million, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier.

Adjusted for one-time items, profit came to 59 cents a share, compared with a loss of 18 cents a share expected by analysts, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales at the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company fell 23 percent to $3.6 billion.

Whirlpool, whose products include refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and dryers, has seen sales crumble in the global slowdown. It had warned earlier in the year that profits would continue to fall in 2009.

Based on current economic conditions, the company expects 2009 U.S. industry unit shipments to fall about 10 percent to 12 percent from 2008 levels, compared with its prior outlook of a 10 percent decline.

In Europe, Whirlpool expects 2009 industry unit shipments to decline some 10 percent from 2008 levels. It had previously expected a fall of 8 percent in the region.

For 2009, Whirlpool sees free cash flow of $300 million to $400 million.

Whirlpool shares closed at $40.73 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)