LG mobile continues to ride that sinking feeling

The mobile unit lost 790 billion won in 2018.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

It has now been five quarters since the mobile communications arm of LG Electronics improved its sales figures, as the unit continued to plummet to new sales depths for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, the company disclosed on Tuesday.

For Q1, mobile communications recorded 1.5 trillion won ($1.34 billion) in sales, a drop of 29% year on year, while its operating loss stood at 204 billion won, a 72 billion won increase from the 132 billion won loss that occurred at this time last year.

The company cited sluggish demand and the global expansion of Chinese device makers for the sales decline, as it pins its hopes on 5G to turn the unit around, as well as the transfer of manufacturing from Korea to Vietnam.

LG's mobile division receded over the course of 2018, as it could only muster just shy of 8 trillion won in sales compared to the 11.7 trillion won it reported for the 2017 full year. In the last two full financial years, the mobile arm has recorded operating losses of 790 billion won and 717 billion won, respectively.

Overall for LG Electronics, the Korean company recorded 15 trillion won in sales, a drop of 1.4% compared to last year, and 900 billion won in operating income.

Its home appliance and air solution unit reported record sales and profit, and was responsible for a third of revenue, and over 80% of the operating income. However, the company warned that protectionist policies in the United States could hurt it in future.

On Wednesday, the 2018 earnings of the Australian arm of LG Electronics was disclosed through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

In Australia, the company saw sales grow from AU$760 million to AU$867 million, and after-tax profit increased to AU$13 million from AU$11.8 million a year prior.

For the year to December 31, 2018, LG Electronics Australia paid AU$6 million in income tax against AU$5.1 million for 2017, and its employee salaries expense grew from AU$29.8 million to AU$31.3 million. The company reported having 299 employees on its books.

Despite LG impressing at CES at the start of the year with a rollable OLED display, its regular displays continue to have issues with burn-in.

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