Ericsson Profits Rise

Ericsson, the largest maker of mobile phone networks, said Thursday that its third-quarter profit grew 17 percent, the first increase this year, bolstered by strong results at its co-owned cell phone maker Sony Ericsson.

Net income in the quarter was 6.23 billion kronor, or $844 million, as sales rose 12 percent to 40.8 billion kronor.

Sony Ericsson this month reported a pre-tax profit of €433 million, or $542.6 million, contributing 2 billion kronor to Ericsson’s earnings.

“It was a record quarter” for the unit, Carl-Henric Svanberg, chief executive of Ericsson, said Thursday, but added, “This was a quarter when everything hit very well.”

Nevertheless, the company’s operating margin fell to 21.5 percent from 21.6 percent because of lower margins at recently acquired units of the British company Marconi.

Ericsson sees a “stronger than normal” fourth quarter and third-quarter earnings that were “softer” than normal, Svanberg said at the press briefing.

Ericsson also made its first forecast for 2007, saying industry growth will be “moderate,” which it defines as 5 percent to 10 percent expansion. It reiterated the “moderate” growth forecast for this year.

Ericsson limits its prediction to global system for mobile communication, or GSM, and so-called third-generation networks, or WCDMA, where the company said its market share is about 35 percent.

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