Philips Electronics blamed weak TV sales for disappointing fourth-quarter profit and warned that consumers in mature markets will be reluctant to spend this year.

Shares in the Dutch consumer appliances, healthcare and lighting giant, which is seeking to boost sales in fast-growing emerging markets, tumbled more than 6 percent after it posted the results on Monday.

By 5:57 a.m. ET, the stock was down 6.3 percent at 23 euros, the biggest faller on the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares.

Philips competes with General Electric and Germany's Siemens, which is due to report on Tuesday.

On Friday, General Electric reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter. Earlier this month, Siemens reported that year-on-year order growth at its healthcare sector in the last three months of 2010 was driven by its medical imaging business.

Philips on Monday reported net profit of 465 million euros ($649.6 million), well short of the 532 million euros average forecast in a Reuters poll.

Philips results are somewhat disappointing mainly due to the weaker-than-expected consumer lifestyle division, said Sjoerd Ummels, ING analyst.

Philips stresses that consumer sentiment will continue to be subdued throughout 2011 and it's not a surprise, but still we've had two years of weak consumer sentiment in mature markets, and apparently there's no end in sight.

The company said it sees a pick-up in the construction sector, which is set to lift its lighting business in the second half.


Pierre-Jean Sivignon, Philips's outgoing chief financial officer, told Reuters Insider the group has a pipeline of acquisitions, particularly in emerging markets, and that it would consider a share buyback if deals do not materialize.

Earlier on Monday, Philips said it would acquire the assets of the Preethi business, a leading kitchen appliances company in India, but did not disclose financial details.

Fourth-quarter sales were 7.392 billion euros, up 1.8 percent, against a forecast of 7.56 billion euros, as the rice cookers-to-toasters consumer business was hit by another quarter of weak TV sales.

Sales were impacted by negative consumer sentiment in developed markets, while continued destocking in the trade resulted in a particularly slow December, outgoing Chief Executive Gerard Kleisterlee said in a pre-recorded audio statement.

The consumer division reported fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) of 151 million euros, well below a forecast of 267 million euros and down 43 percent from a year ago.

The lighting division, which produces light bulbs and street lighting systems and whose fortune is tied partly to the health of the construction industry, reported EBITA of 198 million euros, below analysts' expectations for 218 million euros, and up 141 percent from a year ago.

EBITA for the healthcare division, which supplies scanners and other hospital equipment, was 522 million euros, slightly above the forecast of 514 million euros and up 15.5 percent from a year ago. (Editing by Erica Billingham)