Ericsson posts Q4 loss, sees profit in 2002

L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., one of the world’s biggest telecommunication-equipment makers, on Friday reported another quarterly loss and warned 2002 will be challenging, especially in first the six months.

The company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 3.5 billion kronor (US$331 million as of Dec. 31, the last day of the period being reported), compared to a 2.25 billion kronor profit in the same period a year ago, the last quarter of a buoyant year for the mobile phone industry.

Sales in the quarter amounted to 58.54 billion kronor, down 29 per cent from 82.11 billion kronor last year. Last year’s figure includes the spun-off mobile handset business. Excluding the handset operations, sales fell 15 per cent compared to the year-ago quarter, but rose 25 per cent from the third quarter of 2001.

Ericsson has cut its workforce by over 22,000 since March 2001, when it launched a cost reduction program. The company is seeking further cuts, especially in its fixed-line business.

The slowdown in sales of traditional fixed-line circuit-switched networks continues, Ericsson President and Chief Executive Officer Kurt Hellstr