The lighting division grew more quickly than the group as a whole in the three-month period, but margins were tighter, with earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (and excluding costs related to acquisitions and restructuring) at 6.5 per cent of sales. Total sales for the division were €2.03bn (£1.58bn), up from €1.78bn (£1.38bn) in the second quarter of last year. The Philips group as a whole made €5.89bn (£4.58bn) in the period.
Rising sales in the high-growth markets that make up about 40 per cent of Philips Lighting’s business, and in North America, made up for a slight decline in sales in Europe.
The lighting division lost around 3,000 employees as part of a company-wide cost-cutting drive in the second quarter, but gained around 1,000 through the acquisition of Spanish firm Indal, leaving the total headcount just under 53,000.
Philips CEO Frans van Houten praised the ‘strong growth momentum’ in the LED lighting business, but said: ‘There is no denying that the global economy is weaker now than it was just three months ago, especially in Europe which accounts for approximately 25 per cent of our revenue. We continue to take actions to mitigate the risks from the increased economic headwinds globally, and we remain confident in our ability to further improve our performance.’