THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Royal Philips NV announced Tuesday that it is spinning off its iconic lighting division in an initial public offering so it can focus on its future as a health technology provider.
The listing on Amsterdam's Euronext exchange will involve the company selling at least 25 percent of its stock in Philips Lighting, which had sales of 7.5 billion euros ($8.7 billion) in 2015, Philips said in a statement. After the IPO, Philips aims to sell the remaining shares in its lighting division over the coming years. The price of the stock and timing of the IPO were not announced.
The announcement brings to an end a long and fruitless search by Philips for a buyer for the lighting division and marks a cutting of ties with Philips' roots.
Philips CEO Frans van Houten called the decision "historic" for the Dutch company that is still a world leader in lighting.
The company started life in 1891 making carbon filament lamps in a factory in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven and became a world leader in the manufacture of light bulbs before branching out into the consumer and medical electronics markets, making everything from X-ray equipment to electric shavers and televisions.
"We believe Philips Lighting's future status as a listed entity will strengthen its position as a global market leader in connected LED lighting solutions," Van Houten said. "At the same time, Royal Philips will focus on the exciting and fast growing health technology market."