Royal Philips Electronics reports doubled earnings


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The Independent Online

Dutch lighting and consumer electronics firm Royal Philips Electronics said today that its earnings more than doubled in the third quarter, thanks to modest growth in all its business lines - and the disposal of its loss-making television business.

Net profit was 169 million euros (£137.5 million), up from 74 million euros (£60.2 million) in the same period a year ago, when Philips recorded a 54 million euros (£43.9 million) loss on its television business. Sales rose 3.4% to 6.13 billion euros (£4.99 billion).

Philips, the world's largest lighting maker, said nearly a quarter of all lights sold are now LEDs.

The company's performance differed strongly by geography. In mature economies sales of consumer products and lighting sales dipped but sales of medical imaging machines grew.

In developing economies sales were up 10% in all categories, Philips said.

Despite the upbeat trading performance, Philips chief executive Frans van Houten said the company is facing stiff "headwinds" with its biggest market, Europe, in decline, China growing more slowly, and the US market showing "more and more uncertainty related to elections and the so-called 'fiscal cliff"'.

Mr Van Houten said the company's best-selling new products include a line of home cookers endorsed by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver - the first of a product line they plan to introduce together; docking stations for Apple and Android smartphones; and a combination shaver/beard trimmer/hair-clipper "targeting young guys, to make sure they convert to electric rather than wet shaving".

He said LED lighting sales were up 50% year on year, with projects to illuminate the San Francisco Bay Bridge, among others. Because of the transition to LEDs, Mr Van Houten said the company, which is the world's largest lighting maker by sales, will have to get rid of some plants that make traditional bulbs.

Philips has previously announced it plans to take around 300 million euros (£244 million) in restructuring charges in the fourth quarter.