Lucent plans 7,000 more layoffs

Lucent Technologies Inc. posted its ninth consecutive quarterly loss on Tuesday and said it would lay off another 7,000 people in an increased effort to curtail costs.

The Murray Hill, New Jersey, telecommunications equipment maker reported a net loss of US$7.91 billion for its third fiscal quarter of 2002, ended June 30, compared with a $3.24 billion net loss in the same period a year ago. Lucent took a noncash charge related to deferred tax assets of $5.83 billion , a spokesman said.

Revenue for the quarter plunged 50 percent to $2.95 billion from $5.89 billion in the year-ago period. Spending constraints among phone companies, Lucent’s main clientele, have intensified and remained in place longer than anybody had expected, Lucent Chief Executive Officer Patricia Russo said on a conference call with analysts and media.

The international market, especially Europe, proved toughest for Lucent, with pro forma revenue outside the U.S. down 52 percent year-on-year while U.S. revenue fell 42 percent. On a sequential basis, pro forma revenues dropped 15 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent outside the U.S., Lucent said.

Split up by product portfolio, Lucent said revenue from its fixed-line network hardware business tumbled 61 percent year-on-year and 21 percent sequentially. Revenue from the mobile phone infrastructure decreased 2 percent compared with last year and 8 percent from last quarter.

Pro forma results at Lucent reflect the results from continuing operations, excluding business restructuring and one-time charges, amortization of goodwill and other acquired intangibles.

Lucent, which started a restructuring program in January 2001 and employed 53,000 people as of June 30, said it would eliminate another 7,000 jobs because of “continuing market declines.” The company said it is preparing “further actions” so it can reach breakeven on revenue below $3.5 billion, which could mean even more cuts.

“We expect to come out at about 45,000 people by the end of the year,” said Lucent Chief Financial Officer Frank D’Amelio, also on the conference call.

Lucent employed 106,000 people on Jan. 1, 2001. About 10,500 people were laid off in a first round of restructuring and another 26,600 in following rounds. The employee count was also reduced as Lucent outsourced manufacturing and sold business units, D’Amelio said.

Lucent did not provide guidance for its fourth quarter because of “ongoing market uncertainty,” but said it still plans to be profitable late in its 2003 financial year, which begins in October.