Finnish Mobile Phone Maker Expects Profit

HELSINKI (03/01/2000) - Tiny Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Benefon Oy expects to become profitable towards the middle of the year -- although its earnings fell even lower this year than last.

Investments in development and a lack of key components contributed to a loss of 71 million marks (over US$11 million), the company said.

But the company said it expected to break even by mid-year. In the past, the company has benefitted from substantial cash reserves, but by December 1999, it had only 27 million marks cash left, compared to 72 million marks a year earlier.

Benefon has introduced several unusual new GSM (global system for mobile communications) phones in recent months. The dual band Benefon Twin also comes as a version for two SIM (subscriber identity module) cards, while the Benefon Esc! includes navigating capabilities. Finally, Benefon's Q phone includes Microsoft Mobile Explorer, making it, the company claimed, the first phone to feature both WAP (wireless application protocol) functionality and full Web access.

Benefon Oy can be found on the Web at http://www.benefon.com/

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