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Sony Ericsson boosts sales but profit falls

12 октября 2007

Sony Ericsson is continuing to increase its share of mobile phone shipments at the expense of rivals, but Thursday revealed its profit had fallen for the first time in more than two years.

The mobile handset manufacturer reported pre-tax profit of €384m ($546m) for the three months to September 30, a decline of 11 per cent compared with the same period last year. Sales for the third quarter were €3.1bn, up 7 per cent.

Miles Flint, Sony Ericsson’s president, blamed the profit decline on an exceptionally strong third quarter in 2006, when the company first sold its popular Cybershot camera phone. It has also delayed the launch of some new handsets until the fourth quarter of 2007.

It was the first year-on-year decline in Sony Ericsson’s pre-tax profit since the first quarter of 2005.

Sony Ericsson increased its market share of mobile shipments in the third quarter of 2007 to 9 per cent, a one percentage point improvement on the same period last year.

Last year the joint venture between Japan’s Sony and Sweden’s Ericsson leapfrogged South Korea’s LG Electronics to become the world’s fourth-largest mobile manufacturer.

Although the average selling price of Sony Ericsson’s handsets is continuing to decline, to €120 in the third quarter, Mr Flint said that figure was the highest among the leading manufacturers. The average price has been falling as Sony Ericsson expands its sales of cheaper handsets in emerging markets.

Richard Windsor, analyst at Nomura, noting Sony Ericsson’s 30.7 per cent gross margin in the third quarter, said it showed the company “can keep margins high as its devices age and as it progressively enters lower market tiers”.

Per Lindberg, analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort, raised his estimate of Sony Ericsson’s pre-tax profit for the last three months of 2007 by €100m to €640m, because of the company’s strong third-quarter margin and planned new handsets.

Dick Komiyama, chairman of Sony Electronics USA, is to replace Mr Flint when he steps down as president next month.

Источник: Financial Times

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