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Philips to cut stakes in NXP, LG.Philips

Posted: 18 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:private equity investor? joint venture? energy-efficient solutions?

Royal Philips Electronics announced it is planning to sell the remaining 20 percent stake in NXP Semiconductors and reduce its share in its LG.Philips LCD joint venture to below 20 percent.

The company took in increased profits for Q2 on the back of the sale of its stake in foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC). However, it also reported a decline in sales amid a weakening U.S. dollar.

According to Pierre-Jean Sivignon, Philips' chief financial officer, the company would consider an offer for the 19.9 percent stake it still holds in NXP, the rest of which it sold to a group pf private equity investors last year, "provided it is at the right price."

However, Sivignon added that the sale of its remaining stake in NXP is not a priority for Philips and the company is not actively pursuing a deal. He added the lock-up of Philips' stake in LG.Philips LCD would expire in the coming days and reiterated the company wanted to reduce its stake.

The Dutch company's Q2 net income rose to $2.16 billion from $414 million, helped by a $1.65 billion gain from selling shares of TSMC. Sales, however, fell 4 percent to $8.4 billion on the impact of currency effects and portfolio changes.

Net profits were at the lower and operating profit at the higher end of expectations. The company said it's on track to meet its goal of 7.5 percent growth in EBITA for the year on 5 to 6 percent sales growth.

During the quarter, comparable sales at its consumer electronics division dropped 14 percent, which Philips blamed on strong sales last year ahead of the World Cup as well as preparations for a new product range. Sivignon said a new version of its Ambilight flat televisions, due for release in Europe in August, "will impress."

In medical systems, a unit which Philips has beefed up in recent years through acquisitions as it seeks to marry technology in the health field with its consumer expertise, sales on a comparable basis increased by 4 percent, as did operating profit.

Domestic appliance and personal care sales also fared well in the quarter, while lighting sales rose 6 percent on further sales of energy-efficient lighting products.

Gerard Kleisterlee, Philips Electronics president, said in a statement that Philips is benefiting from the gradual shift to energy-efficient lighting solutions, both in the professional and consumer sectors. The company would "further add to our strength in LED lighting, a fast-growing new segment in the lighting market, not least through our recently-announced intention to acquire Color Kinetics," he added.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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