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Philips to cut 4,500 jobs, as profits plunge

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
Royal Philips Electronics posted sales growth in its health care segment for the third quarter Monday, even as overall profits plunged. The company also announced it had a "next-generation PACS system" lined up for launch this year.

The Dutch electronics giant, and the biggest light bulb seller in the world, said income fell a whopping 85 percent, from 524 million euros, or 55 cents per share, in third quarter 2010, to 76 million euros, or 8 cents per share, in the third quarter this year.

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The company also said it was moving forward on a massive restructuring plan that would result in 800 million euros in savings, more than half of which comes at the cost of 4,500 jobs, 1,400 from offices on its home turf, the Netherlands.

CEO Frans van Houten said in a statement that the layoffs were a "regrettable but inevitable step to improve our operating model to become more agile, lean and competitive."

Still, the company said it's aiming to reach 2013 mid-term financial targets, and that certain segments, such as lighting, experienced sales growth.

Health care revenues have also inched up, especially in emerging markets. Philips Healthcare said sales grew 7 percent, from 2.07 billion euros in third quarter 2010, to 2.08 billion in the third quarter this year. However, this segment's operating profit fell from 282 million euros in the third quarter last year to 261 million euros this year.

Currency-comparable equipment orders rose 5 percent year-over-year, rising 6 percent in North America but 15 percent in so-called "growth geographies," while declining in Europe.

Sales also reflected this regional spread, with North America enjoying 8 percent sales growth, growth geographies 20 percent growth, and mature geographies 4 percent growth.

Highlighting some of its action in growth geographies, Philips said it struck a five-year deal with Bunda Group, a mother and child hospital group in Indonesia, to provide medical imaging on a pay-per-use model. It also said its India branch inked its biggest multi-modality deal this year with Fortis Healthcare, one of India's largest hospital chains, over an under-construction hospital in a New Delhi satellite city.

In a note on its financial report, Philips also said it was releasing several new products in the fourth quarter, including a "next-generation Patient Archiving and Communications System (PACS)." TrueFlight Select, an economic PET-CT system with time-of-flight technology, will also become available worldwide in the fourth quarter, Philips said.

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