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LG Electronics reports Q3 profit on handset earnings

South Korean electronics maker posts net profit of $138 million, a dramatic swing from a $366 million loss a year ago.

LG Optimus L9
LG Electronics' Optimus G smartphone Lynn La/CNET

LG Electronics said today it swung a third-quarter profit based largely on the success of its once-ailing handset division.

South Korean electronics maker posted a net profit of 157.1 billion won ($138.5 million) for the three months ended September 30, a dramatic recovery from the loss of 413.9 billion won ($366 million) it recorded in the year-ago period. However, third-quarter revenue fell 4 percent to 12.38 trillion won ($10.93 billion) due to a decline in demand for feature phones.

LG's mobile division recorded a third-quarter profit of 22 billion won ($19.4 million), compared with a 138.8 billion won ($125.8 million) loss a year earlier, thanks largely to the sales of LTE-enabled smartphones. Overall, the company shipped more than 14 million handsets, a 9 percent increase over the previous quarter. The company also credited sales Optimus L series phones with contributing to profits.

Once the world's third-largest cell phone maker, LG has suffered in recent years as consumers flocked to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy smartphones. However, the company expects its Optimus G and Optimus Vu II will help it gain ground in the high-end smartphone market.

Profit from the home entertainment division, which competes with Samsung and Sony in the TV sector, recorded an operating profit of 88.6 billion won, unchanged from a year earlier.

LG shares were up 2 percent following the company's earnings announcement, following a 26 percent run-up during the past quarter on mobile sector optimism.