Consumer electronics maker Philips Electronics has said it is pulling out of the US group that oversees its $4.7 billion in market value, ending an era of consolidation that has been a cornerstone of US corporate culture.
In a statement, Philips said the decision is a “difficult one” and that it “wishes to thank our shareholders and our customers for their continued support”.
It said it had “no plans to pursue additional business opportunities in the United States”, where it has a market cap of $3.8 trillion.
Phillips had been in the US since 1987.
Its consumer electronics business accounted for around 10 per cent of its $1.2 trillion in sales last year.
The group had been trying to diversify its operations, with a focus on electronic parts, home electronics and industrial components, but it was hit with a regulatory setback in 2016, when it was found to have been using chemicals used in its fluoroquinolones, which are used in some fluoroammonium bromide eye drops.
That ruling triggered a regulatory backlash from other pharmaceutical companies, including the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The FDA had warned in November that there was a potential for the chemicals used to manufacture these eye drops to contaminate water and foods.
Phillip said it was working with the FDA on the details of its exit from the US, and that the group would continue to support the regulatory process.
“We wish to thank all our shareholders for their support of the Philips brand and for the contributions they have made to our business over the years,” the statement said.
Philips said it would continue with its expansion plans in Europe and Asia.
Its parent company, Philips AG, said it planned to invest $2 billion in its European operations, bringing its total investments in Europe to $6.4 billion.
Philip is the largest maker of fluoroquine eye drops in the world, but its market share has been dropping for years.
The US company has been trying since 2014 to rebrand itself, and has invested heavily in new products in the last year, with an eye-bleaching gel and a new sunscreen.
Philistines new US operations have focused on its fluoride eye drop, and the company has said its products are safe for use.
But the FDA said the company had failed to demonstrate that it had been testing its fluoquine-containing products for safety, and had not been able to prove that they were safe for consumers.
The decision to pull out of US marketplaces for fluoroqualone was made following the FDA’s decision in late January to prohibit the use of fluoromethanes by the FDA.
The FDA said it wanted to make sure that manufacturers of fluoqualone products are able to comply with all safety requirements, including safety testing.