Alcatel sees lower sales, better income from operations

Alcatel SA said on Monday that first-quarter earnings from operations promise to be slightly better than in the previous quarter, although sales appear to have dropped further than expected.

The French telecommunication-equipment maker expects to post a first-quarter net loss of about €850 million (US$747 million as of March 31, the last day of the period being reported), its fourth-consecutive quarterly loss. That compares with a €1.5 billion net loss last quarter and a net profit of €210 million in the year-ago period.

Sales are expected to be down 32 percent compared to the previous quarter, slightly more than the 30 percent decline Alcatel anticipated. Income from operations should be a bit better than the €368 million loss in the previous quarter, the company said.

Alcatel of Paris has been restructuring to keep its head up in a down economy and aims to break even with quarterly sales under €5 billion. The company has set a target to slash costs by 20 percent and has cut over 30,000 jobs.

Alcatel released the preliminary figures ahead of its shareholders meeting later this week. Full first-quarter results are scheduled to be published on April 25.

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