Lucent reports first profit in three years

After having undergone extensive restructuring and cost cuts, Lucent Technologies on Wednesday reported its first net profit in over three years, beating analyst expectations for the telecommunications equipment maker's fourth quarter financial performance.

Lucent reported net income of US$99 million for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, or $0.02 per share, compared with a net loss of $2.81 billion, or $0.84 a share, for the same period a year earlier, the Murray Hill, New Jersey, company said in a statement.

Excluding various one-time charges and benefits, Lucent reported no earnings per share, but that still beat analysts' expectations, as reported by Thomson First Call, of a $0.04 per-share loss (also excluding one-time items).

The company remains somewhat cautious on its outlook, however, and declined to forecast when it will return to steady profits.

"We still have some work to do, and in the current challenging market environment it's likely we will still have some ups and downs on the way to sustained profitability," Lucent Chairman and Chief Executive Patricia Russo said in a statement. She added that the company is seeing some signs of stability in the telecom market.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.03 billion, compared to $2.28 billion one year earlier.

For the 2003 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Lucent reported revenue of $8.5 billion, compared with $12.3 billion in fiscal 2002. The year ended with a net loss of $770 million or 29 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $11.8 billion or $3.49 per share for fiscal 2002.

Lucent reported that initiatives to expand into areas including services and government contracts, especially in regions outside the U.S., are contributing to improved results.

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