Wed, Sep 12, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Philips CEO cuts more jobs amid global slump

Bloomberg

Royal Philips Electronics NV said it would eliminate 2,200 additional jobs to wring an extra 300 million euros (US$383 million) in savings from the world’s largest lighting company as economic conditions deteriorate.

The measures, designed to address inefficiency in the healthcare and lighting divisions, bring the cost-cutting target to 1.1 billion euros by 2014, Amsterdam-based Philips said yesterday.

It is targeting an extra 50 million euros in savings for this year, chief executive officer Frans van Houten said.

‘WORSE SHAPE’

“I already flagged in July that the economy is in worse shape than before, and that statement actually is pretty accurate,” Van Houten told reporters ahead of presentations to investors in London.

“This will make us more agile and competitive,” he added.

Van Houten, now in his second year at the helm, is responding to tougher competition and a slowdown in demand that has spurred competitors such as Siemens AG to examine its cost base. Philips had already targeted 4,500 job losses, and the latest measures will focus predominantly on lighting and healthcare operations in areas including marketing and information technology.

Management layers will also be streamlined, the CEO said. While a welcome boost, the deepened cost-cutting plan is not essential to meet margin goals, he added.

Philips has a target to lift earnings before interest, taxes and amortization to 10 percent to 12 percent of sale by next year, on revenue growth of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Philips stock rose as much as 0.27 euro, or 1.4 percent, to 19.3 euros and traded at 19.2 euros as of 9:16am in Amsterdam. The inventor of the compact disc has climbed 18 percent this year, for a market value of almost 20 billion euros. Siemens, expected to introduce its own purge on costs next month, slipped 0.2 percent to 77.53 euros in Frankfurt.

R&D SPENDING

Philips’ spending on research and development, as well as on sales, will remain intact, Van Houten said.

The CEO has vowed to change the culture in the company to speed up the process of bringing products to the market, such as electrical toothbrushes and wake-up lights.

After transferring an unprofitable television operation to a joint venture, Philips is reviewing “various business models” for its US$2 billion audio and video consumer electronics unit as demand for DVD and MP3 music players fade.

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