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$8.8bn loss but Lucent predicts return to profit in 2002

Halving workforce should stem flow of red ink

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Lucent Technologies has posted results that show its business is still operating at a loss despite its massive restructuring program.

The telecoms equipment manufacturer's Q4 results show a net loss from continuing operations (which excludes one-off charges) of $909 million. These results exclude restructuring charges of $8 billion, which were in line with market expectations. Taking these into account Lucent made a net loss of $8.8 billion.

During the quarter Lucent recorded revenues of $5.2 billion, compared to $5.9 billion in Q3 and $7.2 billion in the same quarter last year.

For fiscal year 2001, Lucent's revenues were down 26 per cent to $21.3 billion and its pro forma loss from continuing operations was $4.7 billion.

Company official tried to put a positive spin on the results.

Lucent chairman and chief executive officer Henry Schacht, said: "Despite the short term weakness in the market, we believe that our Phase II restructuring actions will drive our return to profitability and positive cash flow in fiscal year 2002."

During the course of the year Lucent has unveiled plans that amount to almost halving its workforce, with the loss of a total of around 50,000 jobs.

The collapse of competitive carriers in the States, has had a monstrous effect on telecoms equipment manufacturers, while a slowdown in IT spending in general has piled on the misery. In May, Lucent abandoned plans to merge with Alcatel and the fallout from the failure to conclude that deal has hardly helped matters.

Lucent has an outstanding track record for innovation but a series of poor business decisions and a long string of damaging incidents have brought what was last year a thriving business to the brink of bankruptcy. Securities and Exchange Commission accounting probes and allegations that workers had sold hi-tech secrets to the Chinese have turned Lucent, a former darling of Wall Street, into a tragi-comedy figure. ®

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