The Netherlands

When Philips Electronics Ltd. reported a third-quarter loss of $87 million this month, the Dutch company blamed depressed consumer-electronics and components markets. But analyst Bill Coleman of James Capel & Co. says spiraling interest charges, which grew $95 million in that quarter to $654 million, are a hidden culprit. The debt squeeze puts Philips at a disadvantage in its hunt for entertainment businesses to help it compete with Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. And cash-hungry new products, such as its digital compact cassette, may suffer.

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