Lucent reports `pretty ugly' net loss, its 10th-consecutive losing quarter

October 24, 2002|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

MURRAY HILL, N.J. - Lucent Technologies Inc., the biggest U.S. maker of telephone equipment, posted its 10th-straight quarterly net loss yesterday as sales fell by more than half. The company said revenue might slip further this period.

Lucent's loss in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, narrowed to $2.84 billion, or 84 cents a share, from $8.8 billion, or $2.59, a year earlier, when it had steeper job-cut expenses and asset write-downs. Sales slid 56 percent to $2.28 billion from $5.16 billion.

"We acknowledge that this last quarter was pretty ugly," Lucent Chief Executive Officer Patricia Russo said on a conference call with analysts and investors. She said Lucent has a restructuring plan and more than enough cash to survive.

Lucent, which has failed to keep pace with repeated spending cuts by phone carriers, said fiscal first-quarter sales will be unchanged to down 10 percent from the preceding period. This month, Lucent unveiled plans to cut another 10,000 jobs, part of an effort to slash annual operating expenses by $5.4 billion and stave off insolvency.

"It seems like they're hunkered down and trying to get through it," said Walter Casey, an analyst at Banc One Investment Advisors, which owned 1.8 million Lucent shares as of June. "They aren't going to go bankrupt, but they are in a tight situation."

Shares of Lucent gained 4 cents yesterday to close at 76 cents on the New York Stock Exchange. They had tumbled 87 percent in the past year. Lucent plans a reverse stock split to vault its share price above $1 and avoid being delisted.

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