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Philips, the world's biggest lighting maker, has reported a 38% jump in first quarter LED sales from a year earlier.



The pricey but long-life and energy-efficient bulbs now represent 23% of its lighting sales.

The Dutch healthcare and consumer appliances group said it made 154m euros ($201m; £132m) in the first three months of the year.

Appliances sales were up 10% from a year earlier, but other parts of the business were stagnant.

"We reiterate our view of a slow first half of 2013 due to adverse market trends, especially in Europe and the US," said chief executive Frans van Houten, who insisted that the firm was nonetheless on course to hit its targets for the year.

Healthcare sales fell at an underlying rate of 1% from a year earlier, while overall lighting sales were flat due to weak demand from the construction sector.

One of the parts of the business to do better was its home entertainment division, as losses on its TV sales declined, pushing the unit back into an 8m-euro profit. Philips agreed in January to sell that division to Japan's Funai Electric for 150m euros.

The company wants to focus on its healthcare, light bulbs and home appliances businesses as part of its "Accelerate!" restructuring plan.

The LED lighting revolution

The group's profit for the quarter somewhat beat market expectations, and represents a rebound from a sizeable loss in the last three months of 2012.

However, income from its continuing operations - excluding its home entertainment division - was down about a quarter from a year earlier.

Philips is looking to boost growth by increasing innovation. On Saturday, the firm announced a new partnership with Swedish medical group Elekta and the Netherlands Cancer Institute to develop new MRI scanners that can be used to guide targeted radiotherapy.

Earlier this month, Philips' lighting division unveiled a prototype LED strip light that would be twice as energy efficient as existing fluorescentlighting used in offices.

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