THE HAGUE: Dutch electronics giant Philips said yesterday it saw "uncertainty" this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, as net profit for 2020 rose 1.9 percent. The company, now focused on healthcare after decades as a key home appliances and lighting player, had sales of 19.5 billion euros ($23.7 billion) in 2020, up 0.27 percent on 2019.

"Looking ahead, we continue to see uncertainty related to the impact of Covid-19 across the world," Philips chief executive Frans van Houten said in a statement. "For 2021, Philips plans to deliver low-single-digit comparable sales growth, driven by solid growth in diagnosis and treatment and personal health."

Philips said net income in the fourth quarter of 2020 rose 9.17 percent year-on-year to 607 million euros. The firm signed deals with 25 hospitals in the United States, Europe and Asia in the final quarter and expanded remote "telehealth" services for consumers at home, it said. Total 2020 net profit hit 1.19 billion euros compared to 1.17 billion euros in 2019.

Van Houten said Philips's performance was "resilient" because of a "stronger performance in the second half of the year, following a challenging first half due to the impact of Covid-19." In December Philips said it was buying US remote cardiac monitoring firm BioTelemetry for $2.8 billion (2.3 billion euros). Philips said in January 2020 that it would sell off its home appliance arm over the coming year-and-a-half to fully concentrate on health sector products. - AFP