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Sony Ericsson issues profit warning

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Sony Ericsson issues profit warning
13:07 CET+01:00
Mobile phone maker Ericsson">Sony Ericsson warned investors on Friday that its first quarter profits wouldn't meet expectations, as a slump in global demand hit the company's sales and earnings.

Ericsson">Sony Ericsson said that "net sales and net income before taxes in the first quarter of 2009 continue to be negatively affected by weak consumer demand as well as de-stocking in the retail and distribution channels."

The company is due to announce its first-quarter results on April 17.

Sony Ericsson reported a net loss of €73 million ($100 million) in 2008, with the fourth quarter alone showing losses of €187 million and a drop in sales of 22 percent.

The company has announced massive cost-cutting measures.

Sony Ericsson also said it "plans to ship approximately 14 million phones during the first quarter of 2009 with an estimated average selling price of €120," compared to the 22.3 million phones sold at an average price of €121 in the first quarter last year.

Sony Ericsson also warned that its first quarter "gross margin is expected to decline both year-on-year and sequentially."

And its "net income before taxes is estimated to be a loss in the range of €340-390 million, (and) excluding restructuring charges in the range of €10-20 million," it said.

The profit warning came amid several days of media speculation in Sweden that the company was considering splitting the Japanese-Swedish venture that was created in 2001.

Ericsson chief Carl-Henric Svanberg however continues to maintain that his company is committed to a long-term involvement in the joint-venture.

Sony Ericsson remains unlisted, but Ericsson saw its share price dive 7.65 percent to 70 kronor ($8.62) in midday trading on the Stockholm stock exchange, where the OMX30 index was down 1.75 percent.

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