LG Electronics Inc., South Korea's leading home appliance and smartphone maker, said Thursday its net loss widened by more than threefold in the fourth quarter of 2014 from a year earlier as it suspended production of plasma display panel (PDP) TVs due to lack of demand.
Net loss came to 205.7 billion won (US$189.9 million) in the October-December period, compared with a loss of 63.5 billion won the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The figure was in line with the market consensus polled by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency.
The widened net loss came as LG Electronics pulled out of its PDP TV business in November last year due to a fall in demand.
Profit from PDP TVs has been counted as losses, the company said.
Operating profit, however, rose 28.4 percent on-year to 275.1 billion won, with sales gaining 4.9 percent to 15.3 trillion won in the cited period.
The fourth-quarter earnings came a day after LG released its annual earnings in compliance with a local rule that requires a large firm to disclose results if there's a change in profit or revenue by 15 percent or more.
On an annual basis, its net profit more than doubled in 2014 to 501.3 billion won, compared with 222.7 billion won a year ago.
The company cited upbeat sales of its flagship G smartphone series as a key reason for the strong bottom line.
Its mobile business made a significant turnaround in the fourth quarter by logging 67.4 billion won in operating profit, a shift from an operating loss of 43.4 billion won a year ago.
LG said it sold 15.6 million units of smartphones in 2014, up 18 percent from a year earlier. Shipments to North America spiked 78 percent to 5.7 million units last year.
But the company saw a steep decline in its home entertainment unit that includes TVs, posting 1.7 billion won in operating income in the quarter ending in December, sharply down from an operating income of 153 billion won the previous year.
Weaker currency conditions in Russia and Brazil, along with intense price competition, drove down the profit, LG said, adding it will strive to improve profitability by focusing on the premium market with OLED and UHD TVs.
Profit from the home appliance division was almost flat over the cited period, while that of air conditioning and energy solution more than halved to 3.6 billion won.
The company announced Wednesday it will pay a dividend of 400 won per share for 2014, increasing it from a payout of 200 won per share in the previous year.
Shares of LG Electronics dropped 1.42 percent to 62,600 won on the main bourse Thursday, with the broader KOSPI ending on a 0.54 percent fall. (Yonhap)