Orders for equipment produced by Philips Healthcare rose in North America for the first time in 18 months during early 2010, as the Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG) division recorded just more than $1.8 billion in first-quarter revenues.
The 7 percent jump in sales, compared with year-ago levels, was driven by strong growth in Customer Services and Clinical Care Systems, although all business segments within the Andover, Mass.-based healthcare unit enjoyed higher comparable sales during the quarter. Sales outside North America grew by 16 percent, primarily in emerging markets, the Dutch company said.
Overall sales for Philips Healthcare reached $2.46 billion (€1.82 billion) during the three months ended March 31. That was about $106 million higher than the $2.35 billion in global sales reported for Q1 2009. Unit earnings before interest, taxes and amortization were $224 million, up from $91.3 million a year ago.
In prepared remarks issued April 19, Royal Philips CEO Gerard Kleisterlee said that while company’s latest results obviously compare well with the first quarter of 2009 due to effects of the global economic downturn, they nonetheless marked strength company-wide — including the healthcare unit, which he said, “complemented overall good results with 20 percent growth in equipment” orders.
During the quarter, Philips Healthcare moved to improve its sleep diagnostics offerings by acquiring the Somnolyzer automated scoring solutions business of the Siesta Group in Vienna, Austria. This FDA-cleared solution is designed to improve the productivity of sleep centers and is considered one of the more advanced automated-scoring systems commercially available.
Looking ahead, Philips also said it soon plans to introduce a new cardiograph system designed for high-volume hospitals in emerging markets. Developed and manufactured in China, the product — available world-wide — will assist doctors in making gender-specific diagnoses of heart disease in women.