Sony Ericsson hails record quarter

Profits at mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson more than doubled in the last quarter of 2006, rising to €502 million from €206 million in the same period in 2005.

The Swedish-Japanese company sold 26 million mobile phones during the period, compared with 16.1 million the previous year. Sales rose from €2.31 billion to €3.782 billion.

CEO Miles Flint said the record figures were due to the popularity of the company’s camera and music phones.

“Earlier investments in R&D and marketing have enabled us to expand the portfolio and strengthen the brand to increase consumer and operator appeal,” Flint said.

“Our target is to become one of the top three players in the industry, and the momentum we established in 2006 makes this an achievable ambition.”

The results beat the expectations of analysts, who according to a survey by Reuters had predicted pre-tax profits of €428 million and sales of €3.207 billion.

Profits over the whole of 2006 were €1.298 billion, compared with €512 million in 2005.

The company said its market share grew 2 percent during the year to reach around 9 percent at the end of 2006.

The average retail price of Sony Ericsson products was somewhat higher than expected during the final quarter, due to a favourable market situation and continued high demand for the company’s phones. The company saw particularly strong growth on new markets such as Latin America and in Europe.

“We are no longer some kind of niche player, as some people have liked to call us,” said Flint in a video-conference with journalists.

Sony Ericsson is a joint venture between Ericsson of Sweden and Sony Corporation of Japan. The company is headquartered in London.