Alcatel-Lucent expects loss, sees uncertainty in 2008

Alcatel-Lucent sees global economic woes causing it uncertainty in 2008 after the newly merged company survived a choppy 2007, reporting a fourth-quarter loss last week and scrapping its dividend for last year, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the Franco-American company had some good news, however: Sales rose, and it swung to an operating profit in the fourth quarter.

Analysts said the results were slightly better than expected and that the company's grim outlook reflects the difficult market overall.

Rivals Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks have already given downbeat forecasts for the market in 2008 amid falling orders, the report said.

Shares in all three companies rose initially on Alcatel-Lucent's earnings report.

Alcatel-Lucent reported a net loss of $3.76 billion in the quarter ending December 31 and $5.12 billion for the year, as it booked $3.71 billion in write-downs in the quarter related to the reduced value of assets inherited from Lucent Technologies, the Associated Press report further said.

Revenue for the fourth quarter rose to $7.61 billion, up 18% from the same period in 2006 and above analysts' forecasts.

Operating profit amounted to $441 million, compared to a loss of about $4 million a year earlier. Operating profit excludes one-time items such as restructuring costs and asset sales, but is often used as a yardstick for a company's basic business activity, the report further said.