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Lighting spin-off costs dim Philips net profits figure

Philips reported a rise in first-quarter sales on Monday but net profits were hit hard due to tax charges incurred after the separation of its lighting business.

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Koen van Weel | AFP | Getty Images

The Dutch electronics giant reported comparable sales growth of 3 percent to 5.5 billion euros and a 14 percent improvement in adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) to 374 million euros ($420 million).

First-quarter net profit hit 37 million euros ($41.5 million), compared with 100 million euros in the same period a year before, however, with profit "mainly impacted by tax charges related to the separation," Philips said in its earnings statement.

It added the Philips lighting separation process was "well on track." Philips Chief Executive Frans van Houten told CNBC on Monday that he wasn't disappointed with the response that the sale has had so far.

"We are in this process still, evaluating the various bids as well as considering the possible IPO, we've always flagged that in the second quarter of this year we would come to a conclusion and we hope to shortly do that."

"If you look at the first-quarter results, we have 3 percent growth driven by 5 percent growth in our health activities. In Lighting, we have had 27 percent growth in LED so both sides of the house had a very good operational profit improvement," he said.

"We had a number of one-off items in the first quarter but if you take those aside, actually our operational profit improvement was more than 50 basis points...so that gives me confidence about the future and it also sets up Lighting very well for its own standalone life."

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