AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Philips Electronics
Net profit jumped 80 percent to 249 million euros ($329 million), as sales climbed 7 percent to 5.608 billion euros.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a first-quarter net profit of 186 million euros on quarterly sales of 5.436 billion euros, up 3.4 percent.
The results are the first signs of a turnaround at the Dutch group now that chief executive Frans van Houten has been in the job for a year. Investors were keen to see signs that management changes and restructuring measures are starting to pay off.
As Europe's largest consumer electronics producer, the world's biggest lighting maker, and a top-three maker of hospital equipment, Philips has blamed its poor performance on weak economic growth, fragile consumer spending and government budget cuts in several of its key markets.
It has struggled to compete with lower-cost Asian makers of consumer electronics such as televisions, while cuts to government budgets and other austerity measures in the United States and Europe have hit demand for its lighting systems and hospital equipment.
Last month, it sold its high-tech office campus in the Netherlands to a consortium of private investors for 425 million euros as part of its cost-cutting plans and will lease back several of the buildings.
It also set up a television joint venture with Hong Kong-based TPV <0903.HK> in order to turn around the ailing television business. The head of the new venture said earlier this month that it will become profitable and eventually be a top three global TV player.
($1 = 0.7571 euros)
(Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Matt Driskill)