Electronic giant Philips’ profits accelerate in first quarter

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Dutch electronics giant, Philips, said Monday its net profit climbed by over 30% in the first quarter, thanks in part to a surge in sales of oral healthcare products including electric toothbrushes.

Profits jumped to 162 million euros ($180 million) from 124 million euros in the same quarter last year as operational performance improved and expenses declined, while overall sales ticked higher to 4.2 billion euros.

“We had a reasonable start to the year, as we delivered 2.0 percent comparable growth sales and order intake growth, further building on strong growth on 2018,” chief executive Frans van Houten said.

Best known for its lighting business, Philips now focuses its business on high-tech medical equipment and services as well as lifestyle products.

Amsterdam-based Philips did particularly well in its personal health arm, driven by double-digit growth in its oral healthcare products business, which includes electric toothbrushes and flossing devices.

The company reaffirmed its 2019 targets of a 4.0-6.0 % increase in sales on a comparable basis, plus an improved operating margin.

Faced with fierce competition from Asia, Philips pivoted from making electrical appliances and television sets to medical equipment and health technology as well as household appliances.

The group, which sold its first light bulb a few years after it was founded in 1891, listed its Philips Lighting division, known as Signify, on the Amsterdam stock exchange in March last year.

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