LG Electronics third-quarter profit more than doubles from year ago on mobile

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc on Wednesday said its July-September operating profit more than doubled from a year earlier as earnings from its mobile business surged to a five-year high.

The world’s No. 2 television maker after domestic rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said profits for its TV business grew 5.2 percent from a year earlier, while smartphone shipments rose to a fresh record.

“LG’s earnings reflected strong performance from its mobile business,” the company said in a statement.

LG reported an operating profit of 461 billion won (272.73 million pounds), better than a 454 billion won mean estimate from a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 36 analysts.

LG’s mobile division turned a 167 billion won operating profit, its highest since the third quarter of 2009 and compared with a 79.7 billion won loss a year ago, thanks in part to strong shipments for the flagship G3 smartphone.

The pickup contrasts with domestic rival Samsung, which is expected to report its weakest quarterly operating profit in more than three years on Thursday, following a lacklustre run of new product launches.

While LG does not disclose individual product numbers, IM Investment analyst Kim Woon-ho estimated before the earnings disclosure that LG likely shipped a little over 3 million G3s during the period.

LG said it shipped 16.8 million smartphones during the third quarter, a record but well below Samsung, which some analysts estimate shipped more than 80 million units.

LG’s TV division reported a 131 billion won operating profit, compared with 124 billion a year ago as sales of high-end products like ultra high-definition TVs grew. On Tuesday the company said it would wind down its plasma television business by end-November, signalling an imminent demise for a technology that has been overtaken by liquid crystal display.

Shares of LG Electronics extended gains following the results and were last up 4.2 percent in afternoon trade compared with a 1.7 percent rise for the broader market.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)

LG Electronics third-quarter profit more than doubles from year ago on mobile