LG reports record profit with bump in home entertainment sales

29 Jan 2021

Image: ©Mat Szymański/Stock.adobe.com

The South Korean electronics giant posted higher sales of TVs and home appliances but its mobile division remains ‘sluggish’.

Sales of TVs and home appliances drove record profits of $2.65bn for LG in 2020.

The South Korean electronics giant reported that operating profits were up 31pc from the year before, while revenues reached KRW 63.26trn ($56.45bn).

Fourth quarter operating profits came in at KRW 650.20bn ($580.19m), a 539pc increase on the fourth quarter of 2019.

The company’s home entertainment business, which includes OLED TVs, booked revenues of KRW 13.18trn ($11.76bn) in 2020. This segment saw operating profit of KRW 969.70bn ($865.29m), up nearly 23pc year on year thanks to increased sales in North America and Europe

Annual revenue for LG’s home appliances was up 3.5pc to KRW 22.27trn ($19.87bn), with record profits of KRW 2.35trn ($2.10bn). LG said it was the “highest fourth quarter in the company’s history” for sales in South Korea, Europe and North America.

LG’s business solutions division also reported a bump in revenues, which it attributes to high spending for remote working – a trend that benefited Intel and Microsoft as well. Its vehicle components business saw gains due to recovering demand in the North American and European automotive markets.

The company’s mobile communications arm saw a drop in sales from Q3 2020 to Q4, which the company put down to “shortages of 4G chipsets and sluggish sales of premium smartphones in overseas markets”, coupled with increased marketing costs for those devices.

LG Display Co Ltd, a separately listed firm that manufactures OLED screen displays and is an Apple supplier, reported quarterly profits earlier this week of around $622m – a turnaround from the losses a year prior. Supplying displays for new iPhones helped with the shift.

“While Covid-19 and slow economic recovery remain concerns for 2021, LG expects the global economy to normalise under the sound fiscal policies of world governments and the successful implementation of vaccinations,” LG stated in its earnings report for the main LG company.

“In 2021, core technologies such as AI, 5G, IoT and mobility will be widely applied to various LG business areas.”

The company has committed to spinning out a number of its business divisions into a new holding company in 2021, a move that heralds change in how the family-led conglomerate has operated.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin