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Philips announces new car lighting, LED company

Dutch electrical appliance maker Philips on Monday announced it was creating a multi-million euro standalone company by combining its LED and car lighting businesses.

THE HAGUE: Dutch electrical appliance maker Philips on Monday announced it was creating a multi-million euro standalone company by combining its LED and car lighting businesses.

Philips chief executive Frans van Houten said the Amsterdam-based group will set up the new standalone at a cost of around 30 million euros ($41 million).

"Both our Lumileds (LED) and Automotive Lighting businesses are strong players in the lighting industry and ready to pursue more growth and scale, independently of Philips Lighting," he told journalists in a telephone conference call.

"As a world-leading lighting components business, they will have increased flexibility to attract additional investors to accelerate growth," he said.

Philips expects around half of the world to be lit up by energy-saving light-emitting diodes (LEDs) within the next two years and is looking in particular to making gains against Asian competition in the "exciting" car lighting market, said Van Houten.

Monday's announcement was the first step in a process expected to be completed by the first half of next year, with Philips looking for third-party investors.

This could result in Philips either taking a majority or minority stake in the new company "depending on how the process unfolds," Van Houten said.

Both Philips' car lighting and Lumiled LED businesses, which makes backlights for televisions and lights used in mobile phones, showed double-digit growth in a tough first quarter of 2014, Philips said earlier this year.

The two units raked in combined sales of 1.4 billion euros in 2013.

Founded in 1891 in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, Philips employs 114,000 people globally.

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