LG must have thought the negative impact of a very weak-selling G5 on its financial records reached its peak during the July – September quarter, but as it turns out, the strong late-year box-office showing of the V20 wasn’t enough to turn things around.
The chaebol, which had no embarrassingly explosive phone to worry about, blames “hampered” Q4 2016 profitability largely on the G5, posting a disappointing overall net loss of KRW 258.80 billion (USD 223.98 million).
That’s overall, as in for the entire corporation, or at least the multinational electronics part, involved not just in the mobile communications industry, but also home appliance, home entertainment, and vehicle components businesses.
It therefore feels a little unfair to point the finger solely at the modular flagship handheld that never took off, considering LG was able to neutralize the mobile division’s similarly massive deficit the previous quarter.
We’re talking 436.4 billion won lost by the company’s mobile devices in Q3, and KRW bn 467 between October and December. Clearly, the other departments didn’t perform very well either, though the home appliance/air solutions and home entertainment branches still managed to generate (small) profits.
LG of course chooses to focus on the latest report’s few positive aspects, including 12.2 percent year-on-year gains in overall operating profit for the whole of 2016, and 11.7 percent higher Q4 sales compared to Q3.
As far as smartphones go, the G6 and “mass-tier” models coming after MWC are expected to help “greatly improve” LG’s 2017 market position. But is that a realistic prediction or good old fashioned wishful thinking?