LG sold an impressive 13.2 million smartphones in Q4 2013, but still no profit

January 27, 2014
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LG Brand CES 2014 AA-2

Good smartphone sales could not help LG obtain a profit from its mobile business in the last quarter of 2013.

LG announced today results for Q4 2013, and they are a mixed bag. While strong TV sales in the peak season following Black Friday helped the company bag an operating profit of $220 million in October-December, high expenditures meant that net profit was actually negative, at $59 million. Across the company, sales were up 7.4 percent from last quarter and 0.8 percent from the same quarter last year.

While TVs did better than expected, enabling LG to beat the predictions of analysts polled by Reuters, its mobile business brought in a small operating loss of -1.2 percent or $40 million. That’s compared to the same time last year, when LG’s smartphone business registered an operating margin of 4.1 percent.

LG attributes the loss in its mobile business to high marketing costs for the promotion of the G2, G Pro, and G Flex. Indeed, sales are up, and by a margin: 13.2 million units, 54 percent more than Q4 2012 and nine percent more than Q3 2013.

lg q4 2013

As Android fans, the good news is LG – Google’s favorite OEM, according to my colleague Simon Hill – is selling phones like hot cakes, even though it can’t muster enough revenue to offset costs just yet. LG has impressed us with the G2 and Nexus 5, while the G Flex is pioneering a new form factor that could gain prominence in the future.

For the first part of 2014, LG is planning a new flagship in the G Pro 2, which it confirmed to debut at MWC 2014 Barcelona in the last week of February. We’ve also heard persistent rumors of an accelerate release of the G3, with a possible launch by early summer, but that’s only gossip so far.

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