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Citing the worldwide downturn in the industry, telecommunication-equipment maker Alcatel SA released disappointing financial results for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2001 on Thursday.

The company posted a net loss of €1.5 billion (US$1.3 billion as Dec. 31, 2001, the last day of the period being reported) for the quarter, compared to a net income of €426 million in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Revenue stood at €6.8 billion, a drop of 20 percent from a pro forma figure of €8.5 billion for the same period a year ago. Loss per diluted share was €1.28, as against earnings per share of €0.36 for the year-ago quarter.

The pro forma figures are adjusted to account for the public offering of the company's cable division Nexans in June 2001 and the retroactive deconsolidation of Nexans as of Jan. 1, 2001.

On an annual basis, Alcatel saw 2001 revenue of €25.4 billion, down 5 percent from the pro forma €26.8 reported for 2000. Net loss for the year stood at €5 billion, compared to pro forma net income of €1.3 billion in 2001. That represents an annual loss per diluted share of €4.33, versus 2000 earnings per share of €1.20.

Despite strong growth in the first six months of 2001, Alcatel was hit hard by the downturn in the second half, the company said in a statement. Still, a revenue jump of 60 percent in Asian markets, as well as a substantial increase in market share in infrastructure for fixed and mobile networks, prevented an even steeper decline, Alcatel added.

The company expects 2001 to be "challenging," predicting that first-quarter sales will decline about 30 percent. But, thanks in part to ongoing cost-reduction measures and job cuts, the company is projecting better news for the current year as a whole.