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Alcatel-Lucent net loss widens in Q1, blames meltdown

Alcatel-Lucent net loss widens in Q1, blames meltdown

Paris: Alcatel-Lucent’s net loss widened in the first quarter as sales of both wireless and wireline communications gear continued to fall in all major global markets amid the global economic downturn.

The world’s third-largest supplier of wireless networking gear for telecom operators and companies blamed tough market conditions and continued restructuring for the shortfall, its ninth consecutive quarterly loss since Alcatel-Lucent was created in 2006.

The Paris-based company reported a net loss for the January to March quarter of €402 million ($531.56 million), compared to a €181 million loss a year earlier.

The company has now piled up around €9 billion in losses over the last nine quarters. The company does not expect to make a full-year profit until 2011, five years after Alcatel SA’s purchase of Murry Hill, New Jersey-based Lucent Technologies Inc. for $11.4 billion in 2006.

Sales fell 6.9% in the first quarter to €3.6 billion, following a steep drop in sales of wireless equipment to North American operators.

In a statement, the company said it still expects the global market for telecommunications equipment and services to contract between 8 and 12% this year compared to 2008. That is in-line with the forecast made last week by rival Nokia Siemens Networks.

The company has engaged in successive waves of restructuring since the merger, with its current plan calling for the elimination by the end of this year of 16,500 jobs out of a total work force at the end of 2007 of 76,410.

The Alcatel-Lucent tie-up was designed to boost margins through cost and research and development savings, while improving the joint company’s pricing power with telecom operators, its largest customers.

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