Philips bolstered by outlook for healthcare business

Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:18am EST
 
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By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Strong orders for its healthcare business helped to boost shares in Philips (PHG.AS: Quote), the Dutch company which is seeking to focus on scanners and medical technology and shed its traditional lighting operations.

Philips CEO Frans van Houten said he expected modest growth in sales and earnings in 2016, with improvements mostly coming in the second half of the year.

The company saw an increase in sales in China, its biggest growth market, although Van Houten could not say whether he expected the trend to continue as the economy there slows.

"It's certainly gratifying to see the rebound, both in orders and sales growth, especially on the healthcare side, but it comes after several quarters of slow growth," van Houten told reporters.

"I don't think we can declare that the (China) slowdown is over after one quarter."

Van Houten said the company remained on course to sell or float its lighting division in the first half of this year.

Last week the U.S. blocked Philips' plan to sell an 80 percent stake in its Lumileds lighting components division to Chinese investors for $2.7 billion.

Van Houten said that division will now likely be sold for a lesser amount in the second half of 2016.   Continued...

 
A Philips logo is seen at Philips headquarters, where Philips CEO Frans van Houten gave a presentation of the company's 2013 full-year results, in Amsterdam January 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos