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LG Drops as Analyst Says Phone Sales May Miss Estimates

LG Drops as Analyst Says Phone Sales May Fall Short
The handset maker is counting on devices running on faster networks using long-term evolution, or LTE, technology to revive phone sales. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- LG Electronics Inc., Asia’s second-biggest mobile-phone maker by shipments, fell the most in almost a month in Seoul trading after Mirae Asset Securities Co. said its handset sales may miss estimates.

LG, overtaken by Apple Inc. as the world’s third-biggest phone maker, dropped 1.9 percent to close at 88,300 won, the biggest decline since Feb. 27. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index advanced 0.04 percent.

The handset maker is counting on devices running on faster networks using long-term evolution, or LTE, technology to revive phone sales. Demand for LTE devices in North America, the biggest market, isn’t rising as fast as expected and may not pick up until the second half of this year because of limited coverage, said Lee Soon Hak, a Mirae analyst in Seoul.

“Market expectations of the company’s LTE-phone sales need to be lowered,” Lee, who kept his hold rating on the stock, wrote in a report distributed after the close of trading yesterday. He didn’t provide figures.

LG’s handset shipments dropped 25 percent to 88.1 million units in 2011, lagging behind the 93.2 million for Apple, according to IDC Corp., a Framingham, Massachusetts-based research company. Nokia Oyj shipped the largest number of phones, followed by Samsung Electronics Co., the IDC data show.

Today’s decline trims LG’s climb this year to 19 percent, compared with an 11 percent gain for the Kospi.

The LTE market may get a boost from the new iPad by Apple that supports the network standard, Kim Ji San, a Seoul-based analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co., said by telephone today. Increased adoption of the technology would bode well for LG, which is introducing a range of LTE devices, Kim said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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