LG Posts Net Loss in Q4, but Full-Year Profit Rises

LG posted a $189.4 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2014, due largely to the closure of its plasma TV operations, but still earned a $474.8 million net profit for the full year of 2014.

LG, smartphones, earnings

LG Electronics posted a $474.81 million net profit for the full year of 2014, even after taking a $189.4 million loss in the fourth quarter due to the closure of the company's plasma television production facilities.

In its Jan. 29 earnings report, the South Korean-based mobile device, electronics and consumer goods maker also announced full-year consolidated revenue of $55.91 billion that was fueled largely by a 24 percent increase in smartphone shipments, according to the company.

LG's full-year $474.81 million net profit was an increase of 125 percent over its full-year 2013 net profit, while its 2014 full-year operating profit rose to $1.73 billion, up 46 percent from 2013 when the company earned a full-year operating profit of $1.14 billion, according to LG. The company posted Q4 consolidated revenue of $14.06 billion with an operating profit of $253.31 million, which was a 28 percent increase from the same quarter one year ago.

LG's mobile device operations reported annual revenue for 2014 of $14.26 billion, up 16 percent from the prior year, while Q4 revenue came in at $3.48 billion, a 5 percent rise over the same period one year ago.

LG was also bolstered by a 78 percent rise in mobile device shipments in Q4 compared with the same period in 2013, the company stated. For the full year of 2014, LG shipped 59.1 million smartphones, which was a 24 percent increase over 2013. The company also shipped another 19.1 million non-smartphones, for a total of 78.2 million mobile handsets sold in 2014, according to the figures.

"Expecting a challenging year ahead with greater competition globally from various manufacturers, LG will concentrate on improving its brand power, operating more efficiently, and focusing on selective key markets," the company said in a statement.

LG's earnings report came just after the earnings reports from two major competitors, Apple and Samsung. Apple's earnings were spectacular, while Samsung continues to battle out of a slump caused by cheap smartphones from China and the release of the new and improved iPhone 6 models from Apple.

Samsung's 2014 Q4 earnings were better than its Q3 figures, but full-year profit and sales were down significantly from 2013, according to an earlier eWEEK report. For the fourth quarter of 2014 ended Dec. 31, Samsung posted revenue of $48 billion, which is an increase of 11 percent from Q3, when the company posted $43.2 billion in sales. Net profit for Q4 was $4.8 billion, up 26.3 percent from the $3.8 billion that was posted in Q3.

That $48 billion in Q4 revenue, however, was down 12 percent from the $54 billion the company posted in the same quarter one year ago. Full-year 2014 revenue was also down, to $188 billion, a 10.6 percent drop from the $208 billion posted one year ago.

The company posted a net profit of $4.8 billion for Q4, which was down 37.5 percent from the $6.6 billion in net profit posted one year ago. Full-year 2014 net profit was $21.28 billion, down 30 percent from the $27.7 billion posted for the full year of 2013, according to the company's figures.

Samsung's difficulties were in stark contrast to key rival Apple, which announced record-breaking first-quarter 2015 earnings on Jan. 27 with $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits, fueled largely by sales of Apple's latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, which were released last September. The $74.6 billion in revenue was a 30 percent increase over the $57.6 billion in revenue that was posted by Apple for the same quarter one year ago, while the $18 billion in net profit was up 37 percent from the $13.1 billion net profit that was posted in the same quarter one year ago.

Apple's revenue for iPhones in the quarter totaled $51.2 billion, which was up from $32.5 billion for the same quarter one year ago, on sales of 74.5 million iPhones around the world. That was an increase of 46 percent compared with the 51 million iPhones Apple sold one year ago in the same quarter.

Samsung and its smaller rival LG have been getting hit hard since the release of the new iPhone 6 models, according to a new consumer mobile phone market analysis report from the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) analyst firm.

Apple captured about 50 percent of the fourth-quarter 2014 smartphone sales in the United States, which helped the company handily beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a 2-1 margin, the report stated. Samsung captured 26 percent of the market, followed by 11 percent for LG, 4 percent for Motorola and 2 percent for HTC, according to CIRP's figures. Nokia had 2 percent of the sales, while Amazon had 1 percent. BlackBerry sales did not even reach 1 percent for the quarter, according to the figures.

Earlier in January, data from Counterpoint Research showed that Apple iPhone sales hit a major high point in November 2014, when the company marked 20 million global iPhone sales in one month for the first time.