Ericsson posts $1B loss; Q4 sales rise 5%

The Associated Press ~ staff OBJ
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Wireless equipment maker Ericsson posted a 6.46 billion kronor (US$1.02 billion) loss in the fourth quarter due to a massive one-time charge, but said Thursday its sales rose five per cent as mobile operators invested in broadband networks.

(Provided)

Ericsson shares rose nine per cent to 73.10 kronor in Stockholm after the report, which was stronger than many investors had expected.

Stockholm-based Ericsson is the world's top supplier of the infrastructure needed to build mobile broadband networks. The company has approximately 960 Ottawa-based employees and was scheduled to complete renovations late last year to its new local facilities at 349 Terry Fox Dr. in Kanata.

Roughly a year ago, it announced its acquisition of Ottawa firm BelAir Networks.

Ericsson's fourth-quarter loss compared with a net profit of 1.15 billion kronor in the same period in 2011.

But an even bigger loss had been expected after Ericsson announced last month that it would take a 8 billion kronor charge related to semiconductor manufacturer ST-Ericsson. That announcement came after Switzerland-based STMicroelectronics said it wanted out of the joint venture.

Ericsson said its fourth-quarter sales jumped to 66.9 billion kronor, from 63.7 billion kronor a year earlier, driven by investments in mobile broadband networks in North America in Japan.

"Throughout 2012 North America was our strongest market, driven by continued mobile broadband investments and demand for services," CEO Hans Vestberg said. "However, regions such as South East Asia and Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa gradually improved during the year."

Ericsson last year pulled out of a joint mobile phone venture with Sony Corp., after struggling to compete with Apple, Samsung and Nokia.

Ericsson's competitors in the network infrastructure business include Alcatel-Lucent of France, China's Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks, a Finnish-German joint venture.

Organizations: Ericsson, BelAir Networks, STMicroelectronics Sony Corp. Apple Samsung Alcatel-Lucent Huawei Nokia Siemens Networks

Geographic location: Ottawa, Stockholm, North America Kanata Japan Oceania Sub-Saharan Africa France China

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