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Nortel Networks is to delay filing 2003 annual financial statements because of continuing investigations.

The Canadian networking giant launched an independent review of its finances in October 2003 when it said it needed to restate some of its results for last year. This has determined that Nortel is likely to have to restate results for more quarters last year. Hence yesterday's decision to delay filing annual reports (Form 10-K for the year ended 31 December, 2003) to the SEC.

The company says the delay will not necessarily result in a default in the repayment of $1.8bn in debt - even if it misses a 31 March deadline. But Wall Street is jittery: shares in the company dropped 12 per cent on the news.

And things appeared to be going so well. In January Nortel, said it made a profit for 2003, its first annual profit since 1997. ®

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