Philips underlying 2018 profit higher after lighting sale

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Dutch electronics giant Philips said yesterday its 2018 headline earnings plunged more than 40 per cent, reflecting the disposal of its lighting business, but underlying profit rose while sales were steady.

The company, which is focussing its business on medical equipment and services, said its full-year net profit was down 41.3 per cent at 1.09 billion euros on sales of 18.12 billion euros, up nearly two per cent.

Philips said however that 2018 net profit on its continuing activities jumped more than 27 per cent to 1.31 billion euros.

“We achieved our objectives for the year,” company Chief Frans van Houten said in a statement.

“While Philips continues to face global geopolitical challenges and market volatility, for which we are taking the necessary measures, we see an improvement in our performance dynamic,” Van Houten added.

The company reaffirmed its 2019 targets of a 4.0-6.0 per cent increase in sales on a comparable basis, plus an improved operating margin. Best known for the making light bulbs, electrical appliances and television sets, Philips has dropped these activities in face of fierce competition from Asia.

It focusses now more on high-end medical and health technology as well as household appliances. The group listed its Philips Lighting division, known as Signify, on the Amsterdam stock exchange in March last year.