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Q4 Loss But Life's Good as TVs, Mobile Soar

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 31/01/2013

LG reports net loss for Q4 despite "record" TV and mobile sales

One of Australia's most popular electronic brands announced soaring operating profits for 2012 - almost trebling to US$1.01 bn from $342.06, on the back of "record" TV sales and smartphone demand.

LG announced a net profit of $80.75 million for full-year 2012, however, reported a fourth quarter net loss of almost $429m, due to a fine by the European Commission for alleged price fixing of cathode-ray tubes used in LCDs last month.

The TV maker had consolidated revenues of $45.22 bn, a 6 percent fall from 2011, despite the surge in operating profits.

Q4 2012 consolidated revenues were $12.37 bn with an operating profit of $98 million.

LG's Home Entertainment Company reported record 9.3 million unit sales of flat-panel TVs in Q4 alone, resulting in a 17.4% revenue jump quarter-on-quarter to $5.91 billion

The Korean's TV divison reported a full-year operating profit of $480.92 m. However, actual profitability in TV divison declined somewhat due to lower average selling prices and increased competition, LG said.

Revenues from 3D and Smart TVs increased with higher unit sales in the US, Europe and CIS countries which includes Russia. 

LG said it will continue to 'aggressively' market 3D and Smart TVs and plans to expand its share of the premium TV segment in 2013 with Ultra HD TVs and OLED TVs, and is set to be the first brand to launch an OLED set in Australia in 2013.

It was also the first brand to launch a 4K or UHD TV in Oz, with a hefty pricetag of $17,999, but Panasonic too plans to to launch similar high end sets here this year.

LG, who made it into the top 5 phone makers in the US last quarter, announced a 7% jump in mobile handset shipments to 15.4m with more than half accounted by smartphones.

 LG smartphone shipments grew 23% y-o-q to 8.6 million and said sales of premium LTE smartphones such as Optimus G and Vu:2 increased, as did the L-series and Google Nexus 4.

Its Mobile fourth quarter revenues were the highest of the year, growing 15%  to  $2.58 billion, compared to Q3.  However, profit margins are tight at just 2%.

LG plans to increase smartphone revenues and market share by launching a slew of new devices on the back of expected increased demand for mobile, as more European and emerging markets introduce 4G LTE networks this year.

LG Home Appliance division posted almost flat revenues year-on-year, with sales of $2.7 billion in Q4, saying strong sales in the U.S. were largely offset by sluggish demand in Europe, Middle East and Latin America.

The company plans to improve its revenue and profitability in 2013 with more "competitive products, advanced technologies and a stronger focus on profitable regions."

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