Phone Business Drags Down LG Profitability

Q3 mobile losses grow while other units remain in the black
By John Laposky ,

LG Electronics turned a tidy profit in the third quarter, as expected, but the company's mobile business continues to bleed cash.

LG reported a loss of almost $332 million for its mobile unit in Q3, citing supply-chain price increases in components and memory chips. The loss was almost three times that of its second-quarter loss but marked a 13 percent boost over the same quarter last year.

LG's mobile business has had only one profitable quarter in the last eight.

The company shipped 13.7 smartphones in Q3, down slightly year-on-year.

Overall, LG rang up $283 million in profit in Q3, its third straight profitable quarter, on the strength of its premium OLED TV business. Overall sales were up 15 percent over the same period last year, sending operating income skyrocketing -- up 82 percent to just under $460 million.

Meanwhile, LG has joined Amazon’s Prime Exclusive Phones program, which offers Prime members deeply discounted unlocked phone models in exchange for watching ads and special offers on their phone’s lock screen. Members also get unlimited access to Amazon Prime movies and TV episodes, Prime Music, Prime Photos and storage with a selection of pre-installed Amazon apps.

Select LG phones will be available along with current Amazon Prime brand partners Alcatel, Moto and Nokia.

Join the Conversation