Lucent posts tenth quarterly loss

Lucent Technologies has posted its tenth consecutive quarterly loss, as customers continue to cut spending with the telecommunications equipment maker.

The company reported a net loss of $US2.81 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2002 ending September 30, compared to an $8.8 billion net loss in the same period a year ago, Lucent said in a statement.

"We acknowledge that this last quarter was pretty ugly," said Lucent chief executive officer Patricia Russo.

Revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter declined 56 per cent to $2.28 billion compared to $5.16 billion for last year's quarter, Lucent said.

Lucent had issued warnings about poor fourth-quarter earnings, announcing earlier this month that it would cut another 10,000 jobs over the next 12 months to reduce its workforce to about 35,000 staff.

Sales are expected to be "flat to down approximately 10 per cent" for the current quarter before recovering in the second quarter of 2003, Lucent said. The company plans to hit its targeted break-even rate at quarterly sales of $2.5 billion by next September, "based on conversations with [Lucent's] customers," Russo said.

Russo asserted that Lucent had made progress in 2002 in stemming its losses through its restructuring measures and reiterated the company's forecasts for returning to profitability late in the 2003 fiscal year. The company's chief financial officer (CFO) echoed this sentiment.

"We have clearly demonstrated our ability to significantly reduce costs and expenses, and we will continue to improve the way we run the business by streamlining the processes we use with our customers and driving greater efficiency through improvements in supply-chain and information systems," said Frank D'Amelio, Lucent's CFO and executive vice president.

"We will match our product portfolio more closely to our customers' current buying patterns with the emphasis on the clearest and most immediate opportunities in our core areas of strength - optical, circuit and packet switching, mobility, software - and on increasing our focus on services," he said.

In an effort to keep the company from being delisted from the NYSE, Lucent last week announced plans for a reverse stock split to boost the price of its sagging shares.