Alcatel-Lucent posts $539M loss, aims to break even in 2009

Alcatel-Lucent reported a wider net loss in the first quarter, but said it is on track to be close to break-even for the full year. The company also said it expects the telecom equipment market to contract this year by between 8 and 12 percent.

Alcatel-Lucent reported a net loss of $539 million, wider than the loss of $241.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter dropped 6.9 percent to $4.81 billion, down from $5.15 billion last year. The company's North American business was hit particularly hard.

The company also reported an operating loss of $339.4 million, compared with an operating profit of $48.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Alcatel-Lucent reaffirmed its commitment to cutting around $1 billion in costs by the end of the year. The company's projections for how much the equipment market will contract are in-line with the projection given by rival Nokia Siemens Networks, which forecast a 10 percent drop in the market this year.

"This quarter was about putting together the new Alcatel-Lucent," Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen said in a statement. "I am pleased with the customer response to our new direction and strategy. Their confidence in our capabilities is strong, as illustrated by our recent wins in 3G and LTE as well as the encouraging increase in our order intake in both North America and Asia Pacific."

Alcatel-Lucent closed deals last week with China Mobile and China Telecom totalling $1.7 billion to provide network upgrades, infrastructure and services. Those deals came on the heels of a deal Alcatel-Lucent struck with China Unicom. 

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