LG celebrates record profits by making its biggest ever acquisition

The company plans to develop intelligent lighting for autonomous vehicles.

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Mariella Moon
April 26, 2018 6:05 AM
In this article: gear, lg, transportation, zkw

LG has revealed its biggest acquisition yet shortly after it announced that it has reached its highest quarterly profit since 2009. The Korean corporation has snapped up Austrian company ZKW, which is known for manufacturing lighting and electrical systems used by European automakers like Audi, BMW, Daimler and Porsche. It's one of the first companies to make matrix LED and laser headlights and was almost purchased by Panasonic for $885 million back in 2016 -- LG had to shell out around US$1.3 billion to finalize its deal. So, why would LG buy a company that makes lights for premium cars? Two words: autonomous vehicles.

According to the company's announcement, LG and ZKW will work on developing intelligent lighting solutions. Particularly, lighting technologies that can collect information from autonomous vehicle sensors and cameras and can project high-resolution warnings on roads based on that data. "In addition to strengthening ZKW's product development capabilities," LG chief Jo Seong-jin said in a statement, "LG's global production experience and international business network will present unlimited opportunities for both companies in the auto market of tomorrow, which includes intelligent lighting solutions."

While a $1.3 billion acquisition is a huge deal for a company like LG, it at least made $1.03 billion in operating profit for the first quarter of 2018. It said its sales rose 3.2 percent from the first quarter last year, thanks to its pricier appliances. Unfortunately, LG's couldn't say the same for its mobile division, which recorded an operating loss of $126.85 million. Sales apparently declined due to G7's delay, but the company "expects to see positive results with the launch of the LG G7 ThinQ" in May.

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