THE HAGUE: Dutch electronics giant Philips Tuesday unveiled solid net profits for last year, up 55 percent on 2014 driven by increased sales in its healthcare and lifestyle business as its seeks to shed its historic lighting section.
Total net profit attributable to shareholders was 645 million euros ($700 million) compared to 415 million euros in 2014, with sales up to 24.2 billion euros amid rising orders in North America and Europe, the company said.
That represented a 13.3-percent hike in sales over the previous 12 months, which dropped to 2 percent when adjusted for comparable exchange rates and other changes.
“Overall 2015 was a solid year for Philips, as illustrated by consistent performance improvements in the face of ongoing” economic challenges, said chief executive officer Frans van Houten.
Sales of medical equipment such as magnetic resonance imaging scanners also leapt by 4 percent once rates were adjusted.
Van Houten predicted “moderate sales growth” for the Amsterdam-based firm in 2016 as it seeks to streamline operations by splitting its healthcare-lifestyle business from its lighting section.
The lifestyle business has been steadily growing as health conscious consumers snap up everything from electric toothbrushes to kitchen appliances.
The restructuring is expected to be completed this year, with analysts predicting Philips could eventually sell off what was one of its core businesses for many years.
Philips also abandoned its television production business a few years ago, bowing to Asian competition.
Philips sold its first light bulb a few years after it was founded in 1891, but for the past dozen years has focused on medical equipment, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of sales.
“Philips is on schedule to be able to complete the separation of the lighting business in the first half of this year,” the company said in its statement on Tuesday.
It is considering “all strategic operations,” it said, “including an initial public offering and a private sale.”
However, in an unexpected blow Philips last week cancelled a planned $2.8-billion majority share sale of its Lumileds lighting unit to Beijing-based GO Scale, amid US regulatory concerns.
Analysts said it was clear the United States had concerns about selling the technology to China.
As it unveiled its 2015 earnings, the company proposed maintaining its 0.80 cent dividend per share.