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Our last edition of the smash hit left us at the beginning of the CD-I, 1991. Philips was faced with the tough task of putting together a c...

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Philips lighting division floated for first time

Any electrician will tell you that bulbs are tubers planted in the soil. The things you screw into light fittings are lamps. The Dutch have form in both. The technology conglomerate Philips is (with Osram and GE) one of three companies that once ruled the lamps industry. Now it is doing some transplanting. On Monday, it said that a stronger market meant an IPO of its lighting unit was more likely than a sale.
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A diverse family in a diverse company.
If it were to proceed, Philips Lighting would become the second large quoted European lighting specialist, after Germany's Osram, which was spun out of Siemens in 2013. The two companies have markedly different strategies, though. Osram plans to sell out of lamps, arguing the industry needs to consolidate (it will carry on selling the rest of the kit for keeping buildings and cars lit up). Philips Lighting is sticking with lamps. It concedes that the unit is ex-growth. Sales in the first quarter fell by "double digits", primarily because of old-fashioned incandescent lamps. After years of cost-cutting, however, Philips argues it can still make margins of 15 per cent. The question we are all asking, however, is does this company have a bright future now this important component has been subtracted? We certainly hope so.

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