LG's struggling handset business buoyed by N. America, company promises two new flagship models

LG Electronics' mobile business continued to be a drag on earnings as the South Korean company narrowed its quarterly net loss to $117 million. The company's mobile division lost $36 million during the quarter.

LG showed a slight uptick
in its mobile communications
business during the quarter.
(Figures in South Korean won.)

LG's mobile division reported $3.26 billion in sales during the quarter, up 12 percent sequentially and flat year-over-year, buoyed by increased sales in North America, the company said. The company shipped 15.3 million smartphones worldwide during the quarter and 59.7 million during the year, a slight increase over the 59.1 million units shipped in 2014.

The company also said display sales were down due to slowing sales of smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Like other handset manufacturers, LG is struggling as smartphone penetration rates reach the saturation point in major advanced markets. IDC last year ratcheted down its smartphone forecast for worldwide smartphone sales in 2015, saying it "expects to see a noticeable slowdown in smartphone shipments in 2015 as China joins North America and Western Europe in a more mature growth pattern."

Indeed, the smartphone market is particularly competitive in China, where a small army of vendors is vying for market share with low-end and mid-range handsets running Android.

"The smartphone market is expected to be increasingly competitive in 2016 due to anticipated premium models from competitors and further price competition within the mass tier space," LG acknowledged in a prepared statement. But the company plans to release two new flagship models this year, and said it aims to boost profitability by developing "a more cost-competitive value chain."

For more:
- see this LG press release

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