January 31, 2020 / 7:49 AM / 17 days ago

Lighting maker Signify Q4 core profit up; sees better 2020 margin

AMSTERDAM, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Signify, the world’s largest maker of lights, on Friday reported higher fourth-quarter core earnings and said it expected to improve margins in 2020 despite “challenging market conditions.”

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization (EBITA) was 232 million euros ($257 million) for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, up from 214 million euros in the same quarter of 2018.

A company-compiled poll of analysts had put adjusted EBITA at 190 million euros. Sales rose 1.4% to 1.75 billion euros, helped by currency effects.

“While we continue to face challenging market conditions, we are confident” Signify’s business will improve, said CEO Eric Rondolat in a statement.

The company said while segments of the lighting market had grown in 2019, including for horticulture and networked lights, the market as a whole contracted, notably in the Americas. Signify’s fourth quarter sales in the Americas, which is dominated by the United States and Canada, fell by 6.8% to 452 million euros.

Rondolat, who has led the company since its spin-off from Philips and initial public offering in 2016, said the company expected to improve its adjusted EBITA margin in 2020.

Adjusted EBITDA margin was 10.4 percent for the full year 2019.

$1 = 0.9014 euros Reporting by Toby Sterling; editing by David Evans

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