- Adjusted income before taxes of SEK -3.4 b. excluding additional risk provisions for Latin America of SEK 1.7 b.
- GSM sales up 9% for the year
- Handset operations repositioned with licensing business and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications
- Targeting over 5% operating margin for full year 2002 through new business opportunities and ongoing cost control
Net sales were SEK 58.5 b., representing a 25% increase from the third quarter 2001 and a 15% decline compared with the fourth quarter 2000. Adjusted operating income was SEK -4.1 b. including provisions of SEK 1.7 b. for increased customer credit risks in Latin America and a loss of SEK 0.7 b. from our share in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications. Operating margin in Systems improved sequentially to 4% excluding the additional risk provisions.
Through significant improvements in working capital we generated strong cash flow of SEK 16.4 b. and achieved our target of positive cash flow before financing for the full year. Notably, the cash proceeds from the sale and lease-back of test plants are not included as this transaction is treated as a financing activity.
Our Efficiency Program continued as scheduled with SEK 4.5 b. in cost savings for the quarter. The workforce was 85,200 at year-end compared to 107,300 in March 2001 at the start of the program.
“Our strength in the market and our positive cash flow demonstrate the commitment by our employees to win new business and increase operational efficiency. We achieved our cost reduction targets in the Efficiency Program and we will continue to improve profitability,” says Kurt Hellström, President and CEO of Ericsson.
In Mobile Systems, we continued to outperform our closest competitors with sales up 9% in GSM for the full year. We have taken the lead in the North American transition to GSM/GPRS, which also positions us for leadership in the follow-on upgrades to 3G/EDGE.
The market for next generation multi-service networks continues with good demand for our ENGINE solution. However, the traditional circuit-switching business continues to shrink and we are particularly affected by the downturn in Latin America. Actions are underway to improve profitability in this area later this year.
We have made significant progress in the changing handset market, where we have repositioned Ericsson as one of the few that can deliver core handset technology. Several licensing agreements are already in place with other handset suppliers. Furthermore, our joint venture with Sony is off to a good start with a substantially lower cost structure and the most advanced GPRS phones.
We are now in a much stronger position to capitalize on market opportunities and restore profitability in 2002. Although the market will be particularly challenging in the beginning of 2002, we maintain our objective of over 5% operating margin for the full year.