Motorola Q4 net slips on weak handset sales

Motorola finished its year badly, posting a second straight quarter of falling profits in Q4.

It shipped 66m phones, 48% more than in the same quarter a year before, and Q4 sales for its mobile phone operation were up 19% to $7.8bn. But earnings of $341m compared poorly with the $663m of the year-ago quarter.

For the full year sales increased 32% and earnings were up 23%.

Motorola says emerging markets were partly responsible – higher sales but less profitable phones – and its problems were compounded by aggressive price cuts to maintain market share. The company plans to shed 3,500 jobs to save about $400m over two years and says it will be back to double-digit margins by Q2 2007.

– Sony Ericsson came in with record fourth-quarter earnings – they nearly trebled to hit E447m on sales of e1.3bn.

Shipments were up 61% at 26m units.

For the whole year Sony-Ericsson sold 75m phones, 17m of them Walkman branded units. Income of e1.3m was up 144%, and sales were up 51% at nearly e11bn.

The company estimated that it increased its market share to 9% in Q4, up one percentage point from the preceding period and closing in on Samsung’s no.3 position.

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