Lucent cuts losses in Q1 as revenue falls

Lucent Technologies narrowed its losses in the first quarter of its 2003 fiscal year but saw its revenue continue to slide.

Lucent reported a loss of US$264 million or $.11 per share for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31. The telecommunications technology company lost $423 million or $.14 per share in the same quarter last year.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.08 billion, down 41 percent from $3.58 billion a year earlier and down nine percent from the $2.28 billion Lucent reported in the final quarter of its 2002 fiscal year.

The sequential decline in revenue nearly matched the company's own most pessimistic estimates. Lucent had predicted revenues to be flat in the first quarter of 2003 or down 10 percent at most. The actual decline was 9 percent.

The company's first-quarter loss was an improvement from the previous quarter, in which it lost $2.81 billion, or $.84 per share, due in part to restructuring charges and customer financing defaults.

However, the $.11 per share loss includes a $.05 per-share boost from the reduction of reserves for a legal settlement as well as some business restructuring actions, the company said.

Despite the continued losses, the company said in a statement that it is on the road back to profitability with improved gross margins and reduced expenses.

Lucent should be at the break-even point by the end of its fiscal year, assuming $2.5 billion in quarterly revenue, but hopes to break even before then, according to the company.

The company said it expects revenue to increase in the second quarter and hopes to benefit from its latest restructuring and increased sales volumes as it struggles to regain profitability.

Lucent's stock on the New York Stock Exchange (LU) closed Wednesday at $1.81, up $.13 or 7.74 percent.

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