(In fifth paragraph, corrects after company changes Q1 2012 net gain to 119 mln euros from 172 mln)
AMSTERDAM, April 22 (Reuters) - Philips, the Dutch healthcare, lighting and consumer appliances group, reported better-than-expected first-quarter results as two years of restructuring - including job cuts, divestments, and a focus on core activities - paid off.
The company said it still sees a weak first half, especially in the United States and Europe, but expects to achieve its financial targets this year.
“The initiatives to improve gross margins, structurally lower our cost base and reduce our inventory levels led to a better performance in the quarter,” Frans van Houten, chief executive, said in a statement.
Philips is the world’s biggest lighting maker and a top-three producer of hospital equipment, but has sold off much of its consumer electronics business - including its various television, audio, and video operations - to improve profitability.
It reported first-quarter net profit of 162 million euros ($212 million), down from 183 million euros in the same period a year ago when its results were lifted by net gains of 119 million euros from the sale of real estate and other businesses.
Quarterly sales rose 1 percent on a comparable basis to 5.258 billion euros.
Analysts in a poll commissioned by Reuters had forecast a net profit of 153 million euros on sales of 5.407 billion euros. ($1 = 0.7644 euros) (Reporting by Sara Webb; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)