[SEOUL] LG Electronics' mobile business dived into the red for the first time in 18 months during the third quarter, pulling down overall net profit despite a surge in home appli ance sales, the company said Thursday.
The South Korean electronics maker said its handset unit, which includes smartphones, posted an operating loss of 77.6 billion won (US$67.8 million) in the July-September period.
A company statement attributed the loss - the first since the first quarter of 2014 - to increased global competition and foreign exchange losses in key markets.
The firm has struggled for years with slow sales after making a late entry into the smartphone market following competitors such as Samsung and Apple.
Its global market share took a further beating as Chinese rivals like Huawei expanded their presence in the low- and mid-end mobile segments in emerging markets.
LG said overall net profit for the third quarter amounted to 124.8 billion won, down 38 per cent from a year ago.
Operating profit also tumbled 37 per cent on-year to 294 billion won, while sales sagged five percent to 14 trillion won.
The losses in the mobile segment were partially offset by a more than four-fold increase in operating profit by the home appliance division to 246 billion won, boosted by sales of high-end refrigerators and washing machines at home and in the US market.