LG mobile completes year of tanking with fourth quarter plunge

LG's mobile division has seen sales recede by nearly one third year-on-year across 2018.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
(Image: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The mobile arm of LG Electronics is far from able to say "Life's Good", following a year where it collected less than 8 trillion won in sales compared to the 11.7 trillion it reported for the 2017 full year.

For the fourth quarter alone, mobile sales plunged by 16 percent compared to the prior quarter, and a massive 42 percent compared to the same time last year. The company booked 1.7 trillion won in sales for the 2018 fourth quarter, against 2.9 trillion won the year prior.

Over the course of 2018, LG Mobile Communications reported an operating loss of 790 billion won, a larger loss than the 717 billion won reported last year, however the company said the business structure improved due to "cost controls and overhead efficiencies".

The company is pinning hopes of a reversal on 5G uptake in North America and South Korea, but did warn of decreased smartphone demand and increased price competition.

LG is expected to unveil its first 5G smartphone at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will contain a Snapdragon 855 processor, a vapour chamber, and a 4,000 mAh battery.

Overall, LG Electronics posted 76 billion won in operating profit on 15.8 trillion won in revenue. For the same period last year, the company reported 17 trillion won in revenue and 367 billion won in operating profit.

In its home entertainment division, the company banked a record profit of 1.52 trillion won, citing the success at the top end of the market. For the fourth quarter, the division saw a sales drop of 6 percent year-on-year, and an operating profit slump from 336 billion won to 209 billion won.

LG produced one of the standout products of CES when it introduced its 65-inch rollable OLED TV. The company said it is looking to increase sales of premium OLED TVs and large-screen UHD TVs.

Also recording record full-year operating income was LG's home appliance and air conditioning arm, which just shaded the home entertainment division as the largest contributor in full-year profit.

The company acknowledged international trade risks and import tariffs as hitting its home appliance, vehicle component, and solar panel businesses.

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