Philips beats earnings forecast as it mobilises for respiratory device recall

Group announces a €1.5bn share buyback set to start in Q3 and take up to three years

Dutch health technology company Philips on Monday beat analysts' expectations with a jump in second-quarter core earnings to €532 million, boosted by its personal health and diagnosis businesses.

Analysts had expected adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (Ebita) to rise to €519 million, up from €390 million a year earlier.

The group also announced a €1.5 billion share buyback set to start in the third quarter and take up to three years.

Comparable sales increased 9 per cent, beating an average expectation of a 7.3 per cent rise, though its sales were dragged by its sleep and respiratory care business.


The company booked an additional provision of €250 million as it works to repair and replace up to four million breathing devices and ventilators it recalled in June, bringing the total provision to €500 million.

Philips recalled the devices because of a foam part that might degrade and become toxic, potentially causing cancer.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week classified the recall of Philips’ breathing devices and ventilators as the most serious type of recall, noting that more than 1,200 complaints and 100 injuries had been reported.

In a call with reporters, chief executive Frans van Houten said the company was producing replacement and repair kits in anticipation of a green light from regulators, though once approved the deployment project could take up to 12 months due to the high number of devices in the field.

He added that the company was gathering evidence on the risks posed by the devices before the class action lawsuits that have been filed come to court.

Philips confirmed its 2021 sales growth forecast but narrowed down its profit margin expectations to the low end of its previous range. – Reuters