Lucent posts 10th quarterly loss in a row

Lucent Technologies posted its 10th consecutive quarterly loss yesterday as customers continue to cut their spending.

Lucent Technologies posted its 10th consecutive quarterly loss yesterday as customers continue to cut their spending.

The company reported a net loss of $2.8bn (£1.8bn) for its fourth financial quarter ending 30 September, compared with an $8.8bn (£5.7bn) net loss for the same period a year ago.

"We acknowledge that this last quarter was pretty ugly," said Lucent chief executive officer Patricia Russo.

Revenue for the fourth financial quarter fell 56% to $2.28bn (£1.5bn), compared with $5.16bn (£3.3bn) last year.

Lucent warned about poor fourth-quarter earnings; earlier this month it said it would cut another 10,000 jobs during the next 12 months to reduce its workforce to about 35,000 people.

Lucent predicted that sales were expected to be "flat to down approximately 10%" for this quarter before recovering in the second quarter next year. The company plans to hit its targeted break-even rate at quarterly sales of $2.5bn (£1.6bn) by next September, "based on conversations with [Lucent's] customers", Russo said.

Russo asserted that Lucent had made progress in 2002 in stemming its losses through its restructuring measures and reiterated the company's forecasts for returning to profitability late in 2003, a sentiment echoed by chief financial officer and executive vice president Frank D'Amelio.

"We have clearly demonstrated our ability to significantly reduce costs and expenses, and we will continue to improve the way we run the business by streamlining the processes we use with our customers and driving greater efficiency through improvements in supply chain and information systems," he said.

"We will match our product portfolio more closely to our customers' buying patterns with the emphasis on the clearest and most immediate opportunities in our core areas of strength - optical, circuit and packet switching, mobility, software - and on increasing our focus on services."

Lucent remains committed to Universal Mobile Telecommunications System technology but did not expect any UMTS revenue in 2003 because of the slow take-up of the technology across the market.

In the company's mobility solutions division, fourth-quarter revenue was $882m (£570m), a fall of 39% from the previous quarter and down 55% compared with the year-ago quarter. The company expects to see revenue gains in the division in the first and second quarters of 2003.

Lucent's integrated network solutions (INS) division, which includes its optical networking business, posted $1.33bn (£860m) in the fourth quarter, a decrease of 6% sequentially and a decrease of 49% compared with the same quarter a year-ago.

In the services sector, revenue in the fourth quarter was $560m (£362m), down from $630m (£407m) in the previous quarter.

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