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Motorola accidentally makes a profit

Someone take an early vacation?

Motorola wrong-footed the markets this morning when it turned in an unexpected profit for its second quarter and said it would be in the black for the year.

However, the better-than-anticipated bottom line had nothing to do with its mobile devices division, which still managed to show sliding sales and increased losses.

Schaumburg’s finest turned in overall revenues of $8.1bn, compared to last year’s $8.7bn. Improved profits at its home and networks mobility and enterprise mobility arms helped it claw its way into the black to the tune of a whole $4m, compared to a $28m loss a year ago.

Once the figures had been put through the non-GAAP wringer, earnings per share came in at $0.00. Wall Street had been braced for a loss of $0.03 per share.

While investors got an unlooked-for fillip this quarter, they needn’t expect the same next time around. Motorola said earnings in the current quarter should be $0.00 to $0.02 per share – the consensus estimate is $0.01.

Still, the firm said that full-year EPS should be £0.06 to $0.08, well above the current consensus of $0.01.

Sadly for Motorola, the handheld devices business did not match the bounce back at the home and networks and mobility arms, turning in sales of $3.3bn, down 22 per cent on the year. Last year’s $332m operating loss swelled to a $346m loss this year.

The company sought to comfort itself by saying it maintained its share of the handset market by shipping 28.1 million handsets and that it kept its market leadership in North America.

No wonder it was pleased to report that it had made progress on its plans to hive off the handset division into a separately listed firm. ®

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