Philips to focus on health care after divesting audio and video business

Philips is looking to the booming healthcare sector of the Middle East as it withdraws from the audio and video market.

Philips is looking to the booming healthcare sector of the Middle East as it withdraws from the audio and video market.

As the Dutch electronics giant reported that fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, amortisation and one-time items rose 50 per cent to €875 million (Dh4.32 billion) yesterday, it revealed plans to focus on its profitable healthcare business, in which it sells scanners,  cardiographs, ultrasound machines and home sleep therapy devices.

Much of that was on display at the Arab Health convention in Dubai yesterday.

“Growth in China seems to be slowing down a bit; the United States just postponed a fiscal cliff; Europe has faced a euro crisis, so we need to focus on the ongoing economic activity in Middle East and Turkey,” said Ronald de Jong, the chief market leader and a member of the executive committee at Royal Philips Electronics. “We expect to see healthy growth.”

The company said it agreed to sell its audio and video unit to Japan’s Funai Electric for €150m. Home healthcare solutions were a major contributor to earnings last year.

A home blood monitoring device for use during chemotherapy that works much like the finger-prick system to check glucose levels in the blood is being planned.

The new technology is under research in the United Kingdom, and Philips expects to launch it in the UK market late next year. It will check the count of white blood cells, which are also killed during chemotherapy besides cancer cells.

The device would allow oncologists to remotely monitor patients, Philips claims.

“We can help reduce demand by early detection and prevention, and we are working on bringing care from hospital to home,” said Mr de Jong.