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Nortel rakes it in with optical kit

Web and wireless gear also boost profits

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Nortel Networks saw profits jump for the second quarter on surging demand for fibre optic, Web and wireless kit.

The Canadian telecoms giant yesterday reported operating profit at $561 million for the three months ended 30 June 2000, from $320 million for the same period the previous year. This was 29 per cent higher than market forecasts.

After exceptional costs, Nortel posted a net loss of $745 million, compared with a net loss of $258 million for Q2 in 1999. Sales jumped 48 per cent to $7.82 billion from $5.28 billion.

The company said it expected sales in 2000 to grow in the low 40 per cent range, up on previous estimates of 30-35 per cent.

John Roth, Nortel president and CEO, said: "In particular, our Optical Internet, Wireless Internet and high speed Local Internet solutions revenues grew at rates of more than 150 per cent; 18 per cent; and 80 per cent respectively, over the second quarter of 1999."

"We continued to experience tremendous demand for our optical solutions as customers around the world choose to deploy our solutions in backbone and metropolitan networks."

Nortel is planning to invest $2 billion into its optical fibre business which it is reported to want to sell to rival Corning for $100 billion. The money will be spent on ramping up production.

Nortel also announced plans to create 1300 jobs in Belfast by the end of next year. The company is to invest $143 million to add 150,000 square feet to its production facility at Monkstown on the outskirts of north Belfast. US networking company Cisco Systems is also rumoured to be planning to create 3000 jobs in Dublin.

Earlier this week Nortel signed a five-year deal worth $2 billion to supply optical equipment to BT. ®

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