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Dutch electronics giant Philips/AFP

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Philips launches 1.5-billion-euro share buyback

Dutch electronics giant Philips/AFP

Dutch electronics giant Philips/AFP

THE HAGUE, Sept 17 – Dutch electronics giant Philips is to buy back 1.5 billion euros of shares, the company said Tuesday, also raising its targets for 2016.

The company, increasingly focused on healthcare, said it wanted to push ahead with its restructuring programme, including through job cuts.

Chief executive Frans van Houten declined to say how many jobs were concerned.

“We’re not disclosing this number because these are mainly from natural attrition and it would cause unnecessary anxiety,” Van Houten told a telephone press conference.

Philips said it wanted to increase its comparable sales growth by an average four to six percent a year to 2016, and raise EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) margins to 11 to 12 percent, particularly thanks to its healthcare business.

The Eindhoven-based company said its share buyback programme would start in October and “conclude in the next two or three years”, reducing the company’s outstanding share capital by 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion).

Founded in 1891, Philips employs around 115,000 people globally.

It is traditionally known for making televisions, small appliances and light bulbs but has in the last decade branched out to the health and lifestyle sector.

In April 2012 the group sold its troubled television branch to TPV technology, and in January this year it announced it was selling its entertainment business to long-term partner Funai.

Philips said in July that it had completed a two-billion-euro share buyback programme begun two years ago.

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