Motorola posts $3.6b loss, suspends dividend

Motorola has suspended its dividend as sinking handset sales and restructuring charges  took it to another heavy loss.

After posting a $3.6 billion quarterly loss on sales of $7.1 billion, the company said CFO Paul Liska had left the company after less than a year in the job.

Handset sales fell 51% to $2.35 billion compared with Q4 2007 as the company estimated its worldwide market share had fallen to 6.5%. It shipped 19.2 million handsets for the quarter. The devices division widened its operating loss by 53% to $595 million.

Over the full year, the division made a $2.2 billion operating loss, down from $1.2 billion in 2007. Full-year device sales fell 36% to $12.1 billion.

The loss of $1.57 per share for the quarter was comprised mostly of writedowns for tax ($0.91) and goodwill ($0.71), offset by tax and pension fund gains.

CEO Greg Brown said the company generated positive cash flow of $201 million in Q4 and ended the year with $7.4 billion in cash. He said the company planned a further $1.5 billion in cost-cutting in 2009.

Edward J. Fitzpatrick, senior vice president and corporate controller, has been named acting CFO following Paul Liska's departure.

Motorola's stock fell 11% after the news and slipped a further 3 cents to $4.01 in after-hours trading.

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