LG Electronics posted its first profit in three quarters, beating expectations thanks to a revival in its mobile business and demand for high-end TVs.
The South Korean company Wednesday reported net profit of 243 billion won ($213.3 million) for the January-to-March period. It had a loss of 15.8 billion won ($13.9 million) a year earlier.
Overall, sales fell 7 percent from a year earlier to 12.2 trillion won ($10.7 billion), but increased smartphone sales and strong demand for premium TVs in its home market shored up LG’s earnings.
The company’s quarterly operating profit more than tripled from a year earlier to 448 billion won ($393.4 million), beating a market consensus of 395 billion won ($346.8 million).
LG Electronics, whose handset business lost 286 billion won ($251.1 million) in 2011, is slowly regaining competitiveness with the introduction of its Optimus series of smartphones and by allocating more resources to lucrative high-end phones.
Its mobile communication business, which includes handsets, lost money for six straight quarters between April 2010 and September 2011, while its hometown rival Samsung Electronics quickly played catch-up with Apple.
In the first three months of this year, LG’s handset business posted a 35.2 billion won ($30.9 million) operating profit, a big improvement from a loss of 101 billion won ($88.7 million) a year earlier.
Despite tepid TV demand in Europe and other developed countries, LG’s TV-making unit posted an operating profit that nearly doubled from a year earlier. The improvement was largely driven by strong sales of its premium 3-D TVs in South Korea, the company said.