LG's handset unit posted a fourth quarter profit of 10bn Korean Won (£5.6m), its first after six consecutive quarterly losses.
Sales were 2.70tr Korean Won (£1.52bn), up by 0.2% on the previous quarter but down 19% year on year. The unit made a full year loss of 286bn Korean Won (£161.4m), but the fourth quarter operating profit marks a turnaround from the same period last year, when it lost 262bn Korean Won (£147.9m). It lost 140bn Korean Won (£79.0bn) in its third quarter last year.
LG said the profit was driven by increased smartphone sales and improved efficiency in operations. It said the likes of its Optimus LTE device helped drive sales on from its third quarter. It added it had 'solid' sales growth from existing models but shipments declined quarter on quarter to 17.7m.
Looking ahead, it said operators' increasing focus on driving 4G technology would lead to greater competition among handset makers in this area. It said: '[We] plan to strengthen position in the handset businesses and improve profitability by focusing on strategic markets. In addition, [we] plan to expand smartphones, especially on LTE.'
Across LG's wider mobile communications business, fourth quarter sales were up 0.5% on its third quarter but down 17.9% year on year to 2.78tr Korean Won (£1.54bn). It made an operating profit of 12bn Korean Won (£6.34m), turning around a 139bn Korean Won loss (£78.5m). For the full year, sales were down 9.9% to 11.69tr (£6.69bn) and it made an operating loss of 281bn Korean Won (£158.6m).