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Philips Sees Tough 2014 After Weak Q4 Orders

Philips, the Dutch healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances group, warned on Tuesday of a tough year ahead, citing currency gyrations and weak orders in the fourth quarter of last year.Philips sees tough 2014

The company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) and met its full-year financial targets, thanks to improvements at all its businesses after two years of cutting costs, selling weak businesses, and targeting new products at emerging markets.

“Looking at 2014, we remain cautious because of ongoing macro-economic uncertainties, currency headwinds and softer order intake in Q4 2013,” Frans van Houten, chief executive, said in a statement.

Healthcare, the biggest of Philips’ three businesses, reported a 1 percent dip in order intake in the quarter because of weak demand in its main markets, reflecting uncertainty over healthcare reforms in the United States and austerity measures in Europe.

Philips reported fourth-quarter EBITA of 884 million euros ($1.2 billion) and net profit of 412 million euros on sales of 6.8 billion euros.

Analysts in a poll commissioned by Reuters had forecast net profit of 455 million euros and EBITA of 839 million euros on sales of 6.8 billion euros.

($1 = 0.7313 euros)

(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Mark Potter)

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