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LG's growing smartphone sales offset loss taken from plasma TVs

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LG shipped 59.1 million smartphones around the world in 2014, amounting to a quarter of its entire business

The death of the plasma TV impacted LG's bottom line in the last quarter of 2014, but it wasn't enough to derail what's been a good year for the Korean electronics manufacturer. Reporting a $189 million loss in Q4 off the back of write-offs related to shuttering its plasma TV operations, LG nonetheless accrued a $475 million profit for the full year, thanks in large part to its expanding smartphone business.

LG shipped 59.1 million smartphones in 2014, which marked a 24 percent increase over the previous year and led to a total revenue of $14.3 billion. That amounts to a quarter of the company's $56 billion income in 2014, though LG warns of "a challenging year ahead with greater competition globally." The North American market has been a significant bright spot for LG, which saw a 78 increase in smartphone shipments over the last three months of the year relative to the same period in 2013. A series of well-built and specced devices like the G2 and its successor G3 have improved LG's reputation among smartphone buyers, and the recently unveiled G Flex 2 looks like a positive start to 2015.

Beyond mobile, LG is reporting steady income from its home appliance and air-conditioning divisions, where it hopes to shake off "the uncertainty of the global economy" by focusing on more energy-efficient solutions (and, presumably, adding yet more doors to its fridges). The home entertainment group is the only part of LG that's still bigger than its mobile business, earning $18.3 billion in 2014, and the Korean company has reiterated its focus on the high end, saying that it's "optimistic that the premium segment — OLED and ULTRA HD TVs — will continue to grow."