Alcatel lowers 2001 sales forecast

French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel lowered its sales outlook for 2001 citing weakening demand in the US.

In its earnings statement released Wednesday, the company said no slowdown is expected in Europe. The growth rate should be comparable to last years.

Alcatel reported net income in the last quarter of 2000 rose to 426 million euros, ($US392.9 million) or 0.36 euros a share, compared to 338 million euros in the year-ago period. For the year net income was up 106 per cent at 1.32 billion euros, or 1.20 euros per diluted share, compared to 644 million euros in 1999.

Sales in the fourth quarter were 9.69 billion euros, up 26 per cent from 7.67 billion euros in the corresponding period a year ago. Sales growth in the full year was 36 per cent at 31.41 billion euros, compared to 23 billion euros in 1999.

On the Paris Bourse Alcatel (CGE.PA) was up 1.65 per cent at 60.75 euros in mid morning trading.

The past year was a "milestone year for Alcatel," said the company's chief executive officer Serge Tchuruk, in the statement. The company largely completed its transformation into a pure telco business, he said.

In 2001, Alcatel expects revenue growth of 20 to 25 per cent in its telco business. Earlier, at the presentation of its third quarter 2000 results, the company had projected a growth of at least 25 per cent.