Philips CEO switches off TV in search for profit

Philips is moving its loss-making TV business to a 30/70 joint venture with Hong-Kong based monitor maker TPV and has the option to sell out. The Dutch group has struggled to compete against players like Samsung and LG Electronics. Van Houten, a restructuring expert who took over as CEO this month, said on Monday he is assessing the profitability of Philips' 400 or so business areas, a hint that further divestments could be on the cards. "We are not yet firing on all cylinders...There's much unlocked potential in Philips," Van Houten told Reuters Insider. Philips' shares opened lower on the news, but then recovered to trade up 0.9 percent at 10:29 a.m.. Philips has 3,600 employees at the business, all of whom will be transferred to TPV. It did not give a value for the deal, saying it would receive a deferred payment from TPV. Philips showed its first television to the Dutch public in 1928 -- a bulky box-like contraption that was a far cry from its current sleek, flatscreen models. But Philips, once a global leader in TVs, can no longer compete with lower-cost rivals. The unit, which makes up less than 10 percent of group sales, has become a thorn in the firm's side, having notched up losses of almost a billion euros since the beginning of 2007. Van Houten said the joint venture "will enable a return to profitability for the television business, and an increased portfolio focus for Philips in health and well-being."

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