Lucent Again Delays Forecast On Return To Profit - InformationWeek

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Lucent Again Delays Forecast On Return To Profit

The telecom equipment maker now says it won't return to profitability by the fall, as executives had promised for more than a year.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Citing continuing uncertainty in the market for telecommunications gear, Lucent Technologies Inc. said that it won't return to profitability by this fall, as its executives have promised for more than a year.

Lucent, which is due to report earnings for its fiscal third quarter next Wednesday, said Tuesday it expects to report a loss of 6 to 8 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been predicting a loss of 5 cents.

Lucent also said revenues for the April-through-June quarter will be about 18 percent below the $2.4 billion posted in the prior quarter; that would mean revenues of about $2.0 billion. Analysts were expecting nearly $2.3 billion.

The one-time Wall Street darling told analysts 18 months ago that it would again be profitable by September 2002. That was pushed back three months later to sometime in the 2003 fiscal year, and finally to the end of September 2003.

On Tuesday, Lucent's chief financial officer, Frank D'Amelio backpedaled even further.

"We now expect that our return to profitability will occur in fiscal 2004," he said in a prepared statement. He said the Murray Hill-based company would keep seeking new revenue opportunities and keep trying to lower the point at which the company can break even.

Lucent spokesman Bill Price said the company was not specifying when in fiscal 2004 it will make a profit.

Lucent said its sales drop and third-quarter loss primarily were due to an unexpected delay on work on a customer's wireless telecommunications network and to weakness in the North American wireless network equipment market.

The company released the statement after the stock market closed Tuesday.

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