Nortel cuts loss in Q4 despite lower revenue

Nortel Networks cut its loss in the fourth quarter of 2002 compared to the previous year's fourth quarter, even on significantly lower revenue, the telecommunications equipment company announced Thursday.

Nortel posted a net loss of US$248 million or $0.06 per share for the period, which ended Dec. 31, 2002, according to a company statement. That was a big improvement on its loss of $1.83 billion or $0.57 per share in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue was down from a year earlier, at $2.52 billion, compared to $3.46 billion in the fourth quarter of 2001. In the statement, the Brampton, Ontario, company partly credited cost-cutting moves for the reduced loss. Nortel has struggled along with most of the telecommunications industry with a long slump in capital investment.

Meanwhile, revenue was up about 7 percent from the previous quarter, Nortel said. For the third quarter of 2002, Nortel reported revenue of about $2.36 billion.

The loss matched analysts' consensus expectations of $0.06 per share but revenue beat the consensus prediction of about $2.3 billion, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

On a pro forma basis, Nortel posted a net loss for the fourth quarter of just $62 million, or $0.01 per share, the statement said. Those results exclude special restructuring charges of $241 million, acquisition costs of $58 million, a gain of $26 million on the sale of a business and a gain on repurchase of outstanding debt securities of $60 million.

In New York Stock Exchange trading Thursday before the results were reported, Nortel's stock (NT) closed at $2.40, up 2.13 percent.

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