Message from the CEO
“We believe that our active reshaping of the portfolio is the best way to create value for our shareholders and to ensure a successful future for the customers and employees of both companies.”
Frans van Houten, CEO Royal Philips
In 2014 we further sharpened our strategic focus and took the next step on our Accelerate! transformation journey by announcing our plan to establish two pure-play, customer-focused companies in the areas of HealthTech and Lighting Solutions – both leveraging the trusted Philips brand.
In light of the mega-trends that are shaping our world – growing and aging populations, the increase in chronic diseases, urbanization, energy resource constraints, etc. – both companies will be well placed to capture growth opportunities as innovative technology solutions & services partners.
Royal Philips will help address the challenges facing the health care ecosystem through new, more integrated forms of care delivery across the health continuum – aided by Big Data, clinical decision support, and the Internet of Things.
The convergence of our consumer technologies that facilitate healthy living, our medical technologies that help clinicians to deliver better treatment, and our mobile and cloud-based technologies that allow data sharing will help health care systems to improve patient outcomes, quality of care delivery and cost productivity.
We see considerable scope to grow in this space, both organically and through bolt-on acquisitions. Our acquisition of Volcano is the next step in building out our HealthTech portfolio and will strengthen our leadership in the growing image-guided therapy market.
Similarly, in the Lighting Solutions space, our LED-based connected value propositions are going beyond illumination and transforming the way we use our personal and public spaces. By giving people satisfying and inspiring experiences, solutions such as Power over Ethernet office lighting, city-wide lighting management and our Philips Hue smart home lighting are set to transform the very fabric of modern life.
The separation of our Lighting business into a lean, agile, stand-alone company will ensure it is better positioned to capture growth as the world leader in energy-efficient, digital lighting solutions.
We believe that this active reshaping of the portfolio, including the projected sale of the combined Lumileds and Automotive Lighting components businesses, is the best way to create value for our shareholders and to ensure a successful future for the customers and employees of both companies.
Performance in 2014 - a challenging year
As we had expected, 2014 was a difficult year. We continued to improve operational performance in most businesses, yet saw significant headwinds (e.g. market slowdown, exchange rate fluctuations) and other items (e.g. legal matters, restructuring, internal quality and supply chain issues) denting our results, with EBITA declining by 6.6 percentage points of sales.
Sales were 1% lower on a comparable basis, reflecting sustained softness in a number of markets, including China and Russia, and the voluntary temporary suspension of production at our Cleveland facility. These factors – compounded by currency effects and the delayed ramp-up of production and shipment from our Cleveland facility – also impacted profitability, resulting in reported EBITA of 3.8% of sales.
Having said that, the overall figures mask some encouraging performance and strategic shifts. At Healthcare, a major effort was made to remediate the situation in Cleveland and secure external certification of the updated quality management system – setting the stage for a better 2015 as the resumption of shipments gathers momentum. Expanding its offering to help consumers make healthier choices, Consumer Lifestyle continued to perform very well, posting strong growth and earnings. And, pursuing its four-pillar strategy, Lighting recorded a 32% increase in LED-based sales.
We also took decisive action to address underperformance. At Healthcare in the US we rolled out a new go-to-market model for enterprise-level integrated account management. Also in North America, we strengthened Professional Lighting Solutions’ management team and refined a multi-channel go-to-market model to unlock the potential we see in that market. And in Europe, we acted to strengthen Consumer Luminaires’ fundamentals and cost structure, including an optimized portfolio and supply chain.
By the end of 2014 we had completed 41% of our EUR 1.5 billion share buy-back program, and we continue working to further improve the efficiency of our balance sheet.
Supported by Accelerate!
Our Accelerate! transformation program helped us manage through this challenging year, driving improvements across the organization, not least in serving our customers better. Strong customer focus was key to securing long-term partnerships with Karolinska University Hospital and Stockholm County Council in Sweden, Mayo Clinic in the US, and Reinier de Graaf hospital in the Netherlands.
We are seeing quarter-to-quarter growth in the number of such deals, which are all about clinical knowledge, in-depth relationships, and integrated solutions rather than discrete products. Customers are not asking for specific items of equipment, but rather our advice and help in devising, for example, a care pathway to ensure a patient is accurately diagnosed as quickly as possible and in the operating room within 90 minutes of having a stroke. Faced with challenges like these, our combination of customer focus, innovative strength and solutions thinking is key to delivering a successful outcome.
In this context, I am very pleased that the KLAS organization presented Philips with the Best in KLAS award for 2014 during a ceremony at the annual RSNA event in Chicago. The Best in KLAS rankings are based on feedback from customers.
In 2014 we continued to apply Lean methodology to transform our customer value chains. This again enabled us to speed up time-to-market for our innovations – locally relevant value propositions, such as our affordable VISIQ ultra-mobile ultrasound system, our smart Air Purifier in China, and our flat SlimStyle LED light bulb. Innovations like these make a real difference to people’s lives.
Accelerate! also helped us to deliver gross overhead cost savings of EUR 284 million in the year, keeping us on track to hit our 2016 cumulative target of EUR 1.8 billion.
Other key developments in 2014
In Interbrand’s annual ranking of the world’s top 100 brands, our brand value rose by 5%, passing the USD 10 billion mark for the first time.
In Philips Research’s centenary year, we underscored our commitment to meaningful innovation by investing EUR 1,635 million in Research & Development in line with prior years and achieving our target of EUR 2 billion spend on Green Innovation a year ahead of schedule. Turning investment into intellectual property, we filed 1,680 patent applications. And with a view to capturing opportunities to create a healthier, more sustainable Africa, we set up an Innovation Hub for the continent in Kenya.
We continued to deliver on our EcoVision commitments in 2014, and our sustainability drive again received widespread recognition – a #14 ranking in Interbrand’s top 50 Best Global Green Brands, acknowledgement as a leader in both carbon disclosure and performance by the Carbon Disclosure Project, and top scores in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. We also continued to upscale our efforts in the area of circular economy, which we believe presents a significant value-creation opportunity. For instance, we opened a new refurbishment center for medical imaging systems in Best (Netherlands), signed an agreement with the island of Aruba to revamp its entire public lighting system, and expanded our partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy advocate.
I am also delighted that we were able to set up the Philips Foundation, a registered charity organization dedicated to helping enable lasting social change in disadvantaged communities through the application of innovation, talent and resources provided by Philips.
An exciting future
With our decision to create two companies in the areas of HealthTech and Lighting Solutions, we have clearly set our strategic direction.
The road ahead is clear, and our determination to succeed absolute. By continuing to execute our Accelerate! program, we will serve our customers better and compete more effectively in the coming years. We will listen closely to our customers, so we continue to understand and anticipate their needs and market requirements.
We will improve operational excellence in everything we do, enhance our capabilities, and implement a standard operating model. Building upon the Philips Business System, this operating model will make us a simpler, more agile company, while also reducing overhead cost.
In order to drive growth, we have encouraged locally relevant innovation, invested in developing business with governments, boosted our advertising and promotion investments, and started new business creation in areas such as Healthcare Informatics, Solutions & Services, Healthcare Transformation Services and Personal Health Solutions.
Over the coming year we will also maintain our focus on improving gross margins, e.g. through our Design for Excellence (DfX) program. And we will realize productivity gains from the overhaul of our business model architecture, with all businesses adopting one of four standardized business models.
We are proposing to the upcoming Annual General Meeting of Shareholders to maintain this year’s distribution at EUR 0.80 per share, in cash or stock.
|1)||Subject to approval by the 2015 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders|
Looking ahead, we remain cautious about the macro-economic outlook and expect ongoing volatility in some of our end-markets. We also anticipate further restructuring and separation costs in 2015 and 2016.
As of year-end 2014 we are tracking one percentage point behind on the path to achieving each of our 2016 Group financial targets. We are convinced that this does not change our longer-term performance potential, considering the attractiveness of the Lighting Solutions and HealthTech markets and our competitive position. Later this year, as we progress with the separation of Philips and reallocation of IG&S, we will update the market about the integral performance targets for each of the two operating companies.
On behalf of my colleagues on the Executive Committee, I would like to thank all our employees for their hard work over the past year, as well as their willingness to embrace change. And I wish to thank our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders for the trust and support they continue to give us.
Frans van Houten
Chief Executive Officer