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LG’s U.S. shipments decline sharply: Gains in Europe and Asia help drive sequential gain

LG Electronics Co. said today that its handset shipments grew year-on-year and sequentially on a day when market leader Nokia Corp. acknowledged declines in both metrics.
The Korean vendor credited new models launched in Europe and “timely pricing strategies” for its shipment growth, which stands apart from contracting shipment numbers given by Nokia, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and Motorola Inc. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. reports fourth-quarter numbers tomorrow.
But LG said its shipments in North America accounted for only 37% of its global total in the fourth quarter, down from 45% in the third quarter. The United States has been a key market for LG.
The company said it shipped 25.7 million handsets globally in fourth quarter, an 8% increase over the year-ago quarter. The company slightly surpassed its goal of shipping 100 million handsets for the entire year.
LG’s parent company said that fourth-quarter revenue reached $9.7 billion, an increase of 22.5% year-on-year. But profit showed a net loss of $490 million for the quarter. LG’s stock fell 3.7% in trading on the Korean stock exchange.
Handset sales accounted for nearly one-third of that revenue and were up 40% year-on-year. Handset sales are the mainstay of the company’s mobile communications unit, one of four that includes digital appliances, digital displays and digital media.
The Korean vendor said it expected negative growth for the handset market this year, but did not provide a specific projection. (Nokia said today negative 10% growth was possible, while citing “extremely limited visibility.”)
Today’s earnings suggest it is very likely that Samsung and LG have extended their market share lead over Motorola in the U.S., formerly Motorola’s strongest market.

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