Philips posts 7-percent rise in third-quarter healthcare sales

Philips reported Monday that third-quarter sales in its healthcare division grew 7 percent year-over-year to 2.4 billion euros ($3.1 billion), boosted by double-digit growth in the Imaging Systems unit. CEO Frans van Houten remarked that "our healthcare business continues to perform well," noting that order intake in the three-month period increased 6 percent.

The company said that revenue from growth geographies climbed 14 percent, while sales in mature markets were up 5 percent. In addition, revenue in North America grew in the low single digits, but was flat in Europe. Philips added that there was single-digit growth in the Home Healthcare Solutions unit, with mid-single-digit growth in the Patient Care and Clinical Informatics sector.

Earnings for the third quarter reached 330 million euros ($431 million), up from 261 million euros ($341 million) in the year-ago period. Healthcare equipment orders grew by at least 10 percent in Europe in the quarter, with Italy providing one of two "big chunk" orders, noted Van Houten. "We are able to find growth even though the market in Europe is quite tough," he added. North America showed a decline of about 5 percent.

Kepler analyst Peter Olofsen noted that Philips was doing "pretty well" given the weak economies where the company operates and was particularly impressed that it reported strong healthcare orders. "They're performing a bit better than the competition, in healthcare," Olofsen remarked, adding that "overall it's quite a solid set of numbers."

The company did not give a full-year forecast, but Van Houten said the company is on track to meet its outlook for 2013 of between 4 percent and 6 percent sales growth and 10 percent to 12 percent core profit.

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