South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics forecast a 66 percent rise in profit for the January to March quarter, helped by healthy appliance sales and falling television panel prices. The company said Monday it expects a first quarter profit of 505 billion won ($441 million), its best since the second quarter of 2014.
The guidance was well above analysts’ forecast of 408 billion won ($360 million), according to Reuters.
Monday’s announcement was the first time LG — the world's no. 2 television maker — announced preliminary figures for a quarterly earnings result. The company's sales are expected to edge down 4.5 percent to 13.3 trillion won ($11.59 billion).
LG Electronics will disclose detailed earnings in late April and did not give details of quarterly profit. According to analysts, the bump in profitability came as the company increased sales of its premium products.
"The rising presence of premium models in TVs and home appliances sales led to the improved profitability," Lee Jae-yun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Co. told South Korea’s Yonhap News. "The falling prices of panels is presumed to have reduced production costs of TVs," Lee added.
The announcement signaled a change in the company’s fortunes after it registered a 35 percent drop in profits last year as its TV and mobile businesses struggled. A weakening South Korean currency also helped boost exports. The won's average exchange rate against the dollar fell 8.4 percent
during the January-March quarter.
On the mobile business front, analysts reportedly said the business unit will post improved earnings in the second quarter, helped by sales of the company’s G5 smartphone, which went on sale at the end of March.
Shares of LG Electronics traded 0.94 percent higher Monday in Seoul.