Philips Posts Big Loss, Sees Difficult Markets

Philips Electronics ( PHG) said it lost 2.6 billion euros in 2001, a somewhat worse result than analysts had forecast, and made cautious comments about the current year.

The Dutch electronics giant said sales fell 15% to 32.34 billion euros in 2002 from 37.86 billion euros for 2000. The loss in the latest year includes a restructuring charge of 1.7 billion euros, while 2000 included a gain of 9.6 billion euros. The company posted an operating loss of 1.37 billion euros, compared with an operating profit of 4.28 billion euros for the prior year.

"In general, we do not see markets strengthening. Therefore, we maintain a cautious stand on costs, capital spending, working capital and employment in 2002," the company said. Nevertheless, in a subsequent conference call, company officials said they expected to turn a profit in 2002.

Philips' consumer-electronics segment had fourth-quarter sales of 3.25 billion euros, down 19%. Its semiconductors unit had sales of 940 million euros in the fourth quarter, a fall of 44% from a year earlier but up 5% on the third quarter.

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