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

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


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

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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."