Sony Ericsson's string of losses continue

Sony Ericsson posted a narrower loss than last year but was not able to break free from its chain of six consecutive quarterly losses. 

The world's fifth largest handset maker reported a net loss of $236.4 million, down from a loss of $245 million in the previous quarter and smaller than a year-ago loss of $246 million. The latest loss includes a $212 million restructuring charge. Sales were $2.47 billion in the quarter, down 40 percent from $4.1 billion in the fourth quarter last year.

Sony Ericsson shipped 14.6 million units, down from 24.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company's average selling price was close to $170, unchanged from the year-ago period and up slightly from the third quarter. The firm's market share was 5 percent, the same as in the third quarter and down from 8 percent in the year-ago quarter. The company ranks behind Motorola, LG, Samsung and Nokia in terms of global handset market share.

Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg said in a statement that the company's refreshed portfolio and its cost-cutting program were beginning to turn around its financial results, but that it would be a tough climb back to profits. "2010 will still be challenging as the full benefit of cost improvements will not impact results until the second half of the year, however we are confident that our business is on the right track," he said. The company predicted a slight rise in unit sales for the overall handset market in 2010.

The company decided in November to close its current North American headquarters as part of a broader effort to eliminate 2,000 jobs and cut costs; the vendor will combine its Latin America and North America regions into a single Americas region, which will be headquartered in Atlanta.

For more:
- see this release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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