Sony Ericsson triples earnings in Q4

Sony Ericsson's net profit more than tripled in the fourth quarter, as record sales of its music and camera handsets helped it gain market shares, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the company's net profit came to 447 million euros ($579 million) in the three months ending December 31, up from 144 million euros for the same period in 2005.

Sales volumes of Sony Ericsson's handsets soared 61% to 26 million units thanks to continued high demand for its music and camera brands Walkman and Cyber-Shot, the company said.

The report beat nearly all analysts' expectations, but shares of parent LM Ericsson were trading flat at 29.35 kronor ($4.19) on the Stockholm bourse, the report added.

Total sales came to 3.78 billion euros ($4.9 billion), up 64% from 2005, as its closely watched average selling price per handset was higher than expected at 146 euros ($189) because of the strong demand for its mid-tier and high-end phones, the company said.

That goes against the current industry trend of cheaper phones that has caused problems for many of Sony Ericsson's main competitors, including Motorola and Nokia, the report said.

London-based Sony Ericsson, a joint venture of Japan's Sony Corp. and Sweden's LM Ericsson, said it gained market shares of about 2% globally for the quarter, to about 9% of the total market, with especially strong growth in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, the report further said.