Nortel sees flat or slightly lower revenue growth

Nortel Networks expects flat or slightly lower revenue this year, a week after the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against four former Nortel executives, alleging accounting fraud, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said Nortel, North America's biggest maker of telephone equipment, reported l its financial results for 2006 and a fourth restatement of earnings since 2003.

Peter W. Currie, Nortel's EVP and CFO, told analysts that the most recent restatement of results, the latest in a series arising from Nortel's troubled accounting history, resulted in total reductions of $65 million in revenue and $69 million in earnings, the report said.

The latest restatement was 'not material to any period' and had no impact on fourth-quarter operating results, said Currie, who will be stepping down as CFO at the end of April after two years on the job, the report said.

The beleaguered Toronto-based telecom giant has been attempting to recover from an accounting crisis that affected results and caused shareholder lawsuits, regulatory investigations and the firing of key executives, including CEO Frank Dunn, reports said.

Currie expects revenues to be flat or down compared to 2006 as a result of its sale of its UMTS radio-access business to Alcatel-Lucent which had generated $660 million in annual revenue.

Nortel reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $80 million. That compared with a year-earlier loss of $2.29 billion, which included a $2.47-billion shareholder lawsuit settlement.

The telecom equipment company had a full-year profit of $28 million on revenue of $11.42 billion, the report said.

US regulators last week filed civil fraud charges against four former Nortel executives, including Dunn, alleging they repeatedly altered the telecom equipment maker's revenue statements to meet Wall Street expectations, the report said.

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