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Philips drops 'Electronics' name, in strategy switch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Dutch manufacturing giant Philips said Monday it intends to drop the word "Electronics" from its name as it shifts away from consumer-based entertainment towards health, well-being and lighting products.

Based in Eindhoven in the southern Netherlands, Philips announced in late January it was selling its lifestyle entertainment branch which makes audio, video and multimedia products to Japanese company Funai in a 150-million-euro ($199 million) deal.

The proposal to drop the word "Electronics" to rename the company "Royal Philips" will be put to shareholders at the annual general meeting in Amsterdam on May 3, Philips said in a statement.

"Philips is a diversified technology company focused on delivering meaningful innovation in healthcare, energy-efficient lighting and consumer health and well-being," its chief executive Frans van Houten said.

"We believe having Royal Philips as our new company name will position us well in our endeavour to make the world healthier and more sustainable," he added.

Founded in 1891, the company specialised for years in making lightbulbs and later televisions. In the last decade however, it has diversified into manufacturing medical equipment such as resonance scanners.

It has been operating under the name "Philips Electronics" since 1991 and "Royal Philips Electronics" since 1998.

"We believe the new name better reflects that consumer electronics is not our priority anymore," Philips spokesman Steve Klink told AFP.

"The name change is a step in a process that we began several years ago," he said.

Last year, Philips finalised the sale of its television-making arm -- a victim of competition from Asia -- and the Funai deal in January saw Philips stop manufacturing products such as stereos and DVD players.

The company however will continue to make small appliances such as razors, electronic toothbrushes and coffee makers.

"It won't change much for our customers at the moment," Klink said adding that the companies that bought its television and entertainment arms have signed an agreement with Philips to allow it to continue use of the company's brand name for the next few years.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130225/philips-drops-electronics-name-strategy-switch-0