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Motorola first-quarter sales drop 46%

04 мая 2009

Motorola, the struggling US mobile phone manufacturer, recorded the worst performance among the top five mobile phone makers in the first quarter of 2009 by reporting a 46 per cent fall in handset unit sales.

Motorola, once the world’s largest mobile phone handset maker, sold 14.7m mobiles in the three months to March 31, compared with 27.4m in the same period last year. The company reported a group net loss of $231m, up from $194m in the first quarter of 2008. Motorola’s shares were down more than 7 per cent at $5.53 in New York.

All the world’s top handset makers are getting hurt by the global recession because consumers are buying fewer mobiles.

Strategy Analytics, a research firm, estimated that handset makers sold 245m mobiles in the first quarter, down 13 per cent on the same period last year, as consumers delayed purchases because of financial fears.

“Our records indicate that Q1 2009 represented the fastest ever decline in annual shipment growth since the modern cellphone industry began in 1983,” it said.

But as well as the recession, Motorola is reeling from a failure to keep up with rivals that produce mobiles based on third-generation wireless technology that allows reasonable web browsing on handsets.

In particular, Motorola’s range of smartphones – mobiles that double up as mini computers – has been weak.

The company’s 46 per cent sales decline in the first quarter compares with Nokia’s 19 per cent, Samsung’s 1 per cent, LG’s 7 per cent, and 35 per cent at Sony Ericsson.

Motorola estimated that its share of the global handset market shrank to 6 per cent in the first quarter, compared with 23.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2006, when it had launched a profit-draining expansion into emerging markets.

The operating loss at Motorola’s handset unit was $509m in the first quarter, up from $418m in the same period last year.

However, the $509m loss was an improvement on the fourth quarter of 2008, and Sanjay Jah, Motorola’s co-chief executive, said that the mobile unit was making “good progress” towards break-even, although he declined to say when it would happen.

“I do feel we have turned a corner,” said Mr Jah. He said he expected the mobile units’ operating loss in the current quarter to narrow “significantly”, while shipments will be about the same level or slightly down from the first quarter.

Motorola reported group revenue of $5.4bn, down 28 per cent. Basic loss per share was $0.10, compared with $0.09 in the first quarter of 2008.

The company has suspended its dividend and axed thousands of jobs in an effort to cut costs and conserve cash. Its gross cash position deteriorated from $7.4bn at December 31 to $6.1bn at March 31.

Источник: Financial Times

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