Comments from Hans Vestberg, President and CEO
“Demand for Global Services and Support Solutions continued to be good, while Networks showed a decline in sales YoY. In North America Networks sales developed favorably, despite the expected decline in CDMA sales, while parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia continued to be slow,” says Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC). “The growing Global Services business contributes not only with topline but also with stable operating profitability and, together with Support Solutions, represented more than 50% of Group sales.
We believe that the fundamentals for longer-term positive development for the industry remain solid. There are now one billion smartphones in the world and the number is expected to reach three billion in 2017. The introduction of new devices and applications put higher consumer demands on network performance and quality. This drives demand for our technology, software and services capabilities. However, at the same time, we see a continued macroeconomic slow down and political unrest in parts of the world, which has led to more cautious operator spending in some parts of the world.
Our joint venture ST-Ericsson is still in a challenging situation although performance improved in the quarter. Ericsson, together with STMicroelectronics, is continuously reviewing the strategy and business case. We remain confident that ST-Ericsson has a strategic position in the industry to enable the device ecosystem.
We have a strong portfolio, position and capabilities in place. However, our profitability is not satisfactory. Operating expenses for comparable units have declined -7% YoY and we also see steady improvements in execution of projects. These improvements are encouraging, but not enough and we will continue to proactively identify and execute additional efficiency gains and cost reductions,” concludes Vestberg.