UPDATE 3-LG Elec posts strong Q1 profit, outlook healthy

miércoles 16 de abril de 2008 12:14 CEST

(Adds company comments, detail)

By Marie-France Han and Rhee So-eui

SEOUL, April 16 (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Electronics (066570.KS: Cotización) bounced back to a first-quarter profit on Wednesday, powered by sales of high-end mobile phones and its LCD venture, but its plasma panel business faces an intensifying price war.

"The handset division will likely perform solidly this year with relatively strong sales, but there are risk factors such as the slowdown in the U.S.," said Kim Woon-ho, an analyst at Prudential Investment and Securities.

"The display division will surely be negatively affected by heightened competition in the TV market."

January-March net profit was 422.2 billion won ($425.8 million), rebounding from a 122.6 billion won loss a year earlier when display makers were hit by severe oversupply.

The net figure was down on the fourth quarter's 621.3 billion won, and fell short of a 470 billion won forecast by eight analysts polled by Reuters, mainly due to foreign exchange related losses.

But first-quarter operating profit was a record 564 billion won, well ahead of a market forecast for 362 billion won and almost matching the operating profit for the whole of last year.

LG said it expected earnings in the second quarter to improve further and added sales of its mobile phones this year are likely to exceed its target of 100 million units.   Continuación...