But the Dutch group warned that the outlook for the rest of the year was worrying given the weak economic environment, as fragile consumer spending and government budget cuts in its key markets have a direct impact on its three main businesses - consumer electronics, medical equipment, and lighting systems.
We remain cautious about the remainder of 2012 given the uncertainties in Europe, particularly in the healthcare and construction markets, and the slowing growth rate in the global economy, Chief Executive Frans van Houten said in a statement.
He reiterated that results in 2012 would be impacted by restructuring charges and one-time investments.
First-quarter net profit jumped 80 percent to 249 million euros, as sales climbed 7 percent to 5.608 billion euros. Operating profit, or earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA), was 552 million euros, up 26 percent.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a first-quarter net profit of 186 million euros, and EBITA of 433 million euros, on quarterly sales of 5.436 billion euros.
Investors have been keen to see signs that management changes and restructuring measures are starting to pay off. The results are the first evidence of a turnaround now that Van Houten has been at the helm for a year.
As Europe's largest consumer electronics producer, the world's biggest lighting maker, and a top-three maker of hospital equipment, Philips has blamed its poor performance in the past year on weak economic growth, fragile consumer spending and government budget cuts in several of its key markets.
It has struggled to compete with lower-cost Asian makers of consumer electronics such as televisions, while cuts to government budgets and other austerity measures in the United States and Europe have hit demand for its lighting systems and hospital equipment.
The first-quarter results were boosted by one-off gains including a 160 million euro gain related to the sale of its stake in the Senseo coffee brand to partner Sara Lee Corp.
Philips sold the campus to a consortium of private investors for 425 million euros and will lease back several of the buildings.
It also set up a television joint venture with Hong Kong-based TPV <0903.HK> in order to turn around the ailing television business. The head of the new venture said earlier this month that it will become profitable and eventually be a top three global TV player.
(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Matt Driskill and Hans-Juergen Peters)