Philips sales of air purifiers fall as China’s skies clear


AMSTERDAM • China’s battle to cut notorious air-pollution levels is hurting sales of air purifiers by Royal Philips NV.

Revenue from the machines that capture harmful fine particles in homes dropped by a high-single-digit amount in China, in the second quarter, the Dutch maker of hospital scanners and medical gear said in a statement yesterday. That left distributors scrambling to adjust inventories.

“Air quality has improved faster than anticipated. It’s a good thing for the people of China so I don’t want to complain about that,” Frans van Houten said on a call. Besides, there’s always allergens and harmful pollution from furniture containing formaldehyde resin, he added.

Philips stock fell 4% to €35.23 as of 9:15am in Amsterdam yesterday. Sales growth at the personal-health division, which includes purifiers, fell short of analysts’ estimates.

While air-quality is noticeably improved in Beijing, the same can’t be said for cities across all of China, according to the CEO.

Air-purification units for homes is just a €200 million (RM951.74 million) business for Philips, and sales of diagnostic equipment and medical- gear jumped by a “strong double-digit” amount, van Houten said on a call. He predicted an improvement in the personal-health business over the remainder of 2018.

Philips’ overall second-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation increased to €482 million from €439 million a year earlier. Sales advanced on a comparable basis to €4.29 billion.