Lower than expected result for Ericsson in third quarter 2007

Press release
Oct 16, 2007 05:30 (GMT +00:00)
[Ericsson discloses the information provided herein pursuant to the Swedish Securities Exchange and Clearing Operations Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. The information was submitted for publication at 07.30 CET, on October 16, 2007.]
All numbers are preliminary and unaudited.
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) expects sales of SEK 43.5 b., an operating income of SEK 5.6 b. and a cash flow of SEK -1.6 b. for the third quarter 2007. This is below the company's own as well as current market expectations and primarily a result of an unexpected shift in the business mix.

 "The unexpected development in the quarter is mainly due to a shortfall in sales in mobile network upgrades and expansions which resulted in an unfavorable business mix that also negatively affected Group margins," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson. "All other businesses performed as expected. The effect of market dynamics is always a matter of judgment. This quarter we have underestimated the effects."

Ericsson's networks business continues to develop most rapidly in regions where new network rollouts and break-in contracts are predominant. This is where competition is intense as it builds footprint for long-term profitable growth. So far the margin pressures from these business activities have been offset by higher margin sales such as network expansions and upgrades. Such expansions and upgrades have a short sales cycle and builds during the quarter.  This quarter, sales of these higher margin offerings did not materialize as much as in previous quarters. High margin software sales are also lower than normal.

The Professional Services segment continues to show strong growth and stable margins. The Multimedia segment is expected to also show a strong growth with operating income slightly above breakeven level, reflecting the continued investments in new business areas.

"In infrastructure scale is critical for success. Our strategy to regain scale advantage through increased mobile systems market shares has been effective. The present market dynamics are however working to our disadvantage from a short-term financial perspective. Now that we have reestablished our scale advantage from the pre-industry consolidation we will shift our focus slightly and capitalize on our market share gains," said Carl-Henric Svanberg

Income statement and cash flow

All numbers are preliminary and unaudited.

1)Excludes sales from the in 2006 divested defense business, Ericsson Microwave systems.
2)Attributable to stockholders of the parent company, excluding minority interest.
The year-over-year sales increase of 6% consisted of organic growth of 4%. The USD has continued to weaken during the quarter and affected reported sales growth negatively.

The decline in gross margin is mainly due to an unfavorable business mix consisting of a high proportion of new network rollouts and lower software sales. In addition to the good growth in network rollout, sales of transmission systems, with a lower margin, showed strong growth, also negatively affecting Group gross margins.

Operating income amounted to SEK 5.6 (8.8) b. in the quarter and SEK 23.0 (23.6) b. year-to-date. In the Networks business mix, new network rollouts are now dominating and in combination with lower sales of software this caused the group operating margins to decline significantly during the quarter. Sony Ericsson's pre-tax profit contributed 4% to Group operating margin in the quarter.

Cash flow from operating activities is estimated to be SEK -1.6 (4.8) b. in the quarter and SEK 7.2 (7.5) b. year-to-date.


All numbers are preliminary and unaudited.

1)Acquired companies are included from date of acquisition.
2)Excludes sales from the in 2006 divested defense business, Ericsson Microwave Systems.

Sales in Networks declined mainly due to lower sales of expansions and upgrades of mobile networks with its related high software content. Sales of lower margin network rollouts and break-ins currently represent the majority of the networks business. It is this shift in business mix that is negatively affecting group margins rather than a change in the underlying margins.
Sales in Professional Services grew by 26% year-over-year and continue to outpace the market. Managed services grew by 50% year-over-year. More than two thirds of Professional Services revenues are currently of a recurring nature.

Growth was 31% year-over-year. Operating income in the quarter was slightly above breakeven level. The businesses Ericsson Mobile Platforms, Service Delivery Platforms, Tandberg Television and Charging are all showing strong growth with healthy margins. IPTV, IMS and Messaging are new business development areas with significant R&D investments but with limited sales.


All numbers are preliminary and unaudited.

1) Excludes sales from the in 2006 divested defense business, Ericsson Microwave Systems.
North American sales increased slightly year-over-year, however Ericsson had expected a more significant increase driven by mobile network expansions and upgrades of the installed base which so far has not materialized. In Western Europe Ericsson was also expecting similar sales which did not occur due to ongoing operator consolidation in several major markets.

Sales development in Asia-Pacific was flattish due to lower mobile systems sales in China. The underlying business activity is ongoing at a healthy level but invoicing varies quarter by quarter due to the nature of the Chinese market. Sales in Australia were down as a result of the completion of the initial HSPA network rollout. Excluding China and Australia sales growth was 17% in the region. All other regions developed as expected.


For the fourth quarter of 2007 our planning assumption is Group sales of SEK 53-60 b. and operating margins in the mid-teens, including Sony Ericsson.

For the market in 2008, our early expectation is that the current conditions will prevail.


Ericsson's third quarter report for 2007 will, as earlier announced, be published on October 25, 2007, at 07.30 (CET).

Ericsson invites media, investors and analysts to a press conference at Kistavägen 25, Stockholm, at 10.00 (CET), October 16.

An analyst and media conference call will begin at 15.00 (CET).

Live audio webcasts of the press conference and conference call as well as supporting slides will be available at www.ericsson.com/press and www.ericsson.com/investors.

Henry Sténson, Senior Vice President, Communications
Phone: +46 8 719 4044
Gary Pinkham, Vice President,
Investor Relations
Phone: +46 8 719 0000
E-mail: investor.relations.se@ericsson.com

Susanne Andersson,
Investor Relations
Phone: +46 8 719 4631
E-mail: investor.relations.se@ericsson.com

Åse Lindskog, Vice President,
Head of Media Relations
Phone: +46 8 719 9725, +46 730 244 872 E-mail: press.relations@ericsson.com

Ola Rembe, Vice President
Phone: +46 8 719 9727, +46 730 244 873
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (publ)
Org. number: 556016-0680
Torshamnsgatan 23
SE-164 83 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8 719 00 00

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