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Electronics Production | January 22, 2010

Sony Ericsson post smaller loss in Q4

Mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson's sales for the quarter were Euro 1,750 million, a sequential increase of 8% and a year-on-year decrease of 40%.
Units shipped in the quarter were 14.6 million, a sequential increase of 3% and a year-on-year decrease of 40%. The sequential increase was driven by market seasonality and successful sales of Satio(TM) and Aino(TM) phones. The year-on-year decrease in both units and sales was mainly due to a downturn in the global handset market and a faster than anticipated shift to touch screen phones in the mid-priced sector of the market. Average Selling Price (ASP) for the quarter rose sequentially by 5% to Euro 120 due to a more favourable product mix.

Gross margin percentage improved sequentially and year-on-year mainly driven by the successful sales of new, higher-margin phones as well as the positive impact of cost reduction activities.

Income before taxes for the quarter, excluding restructuring charges, was a loss of Euro 40 million compared to a loss of Euro 198 million in the previous quarter. The reduced loss was due to the improved gross margin and the benefits of reduced operating expenses. Excluding restructuring charges, Sony Ericsson made a loss for the full year 2009 of Euro 878 million compared with an income of Euro 92 million in 2008. The year-on-year deterioration was mainly attributable to the lower sales.

As of December 31, 2009, Sony Ericsson had a net cash position of Euro 620 million. During 2009, Sony Ericsson secured external funding of Euro 455 million to strengthen the balance sheet and improve liquidity, out of which Euro 350 million has been guaranteed by the parent companies on a 50/50 basis. Euro 255 million was drawn by the end of 2009, but the remaining Euro 200 million, a two-year committed back-up facility, has not been utilised.

The programme started in mid-2008 to reduce annual operating expenses by Euro 880 million is continuing; with the full benefit expected during the second half of 2010. Since the start of the programme Sony Ericsson has reduced its global workforce by approximately 2,500 people to 9,100 by the end of 2009. The total restructuring charges taken to date are Euro 339 million, and charges for the full programme are estimated to be well within the previously announced Euro 500 million.

Sony Ericsson estimates that the global handset market in units for the fourth quarter 2009 was flat year-on-year and that its market share was about 5% in the fourth quarter. Sony Ericsson believes that the global handset market for the full year 2009 decreased in volume by around 8% year-on-year to around 1.1 billion units and that its market share in units for the full year 2009 was about 5%.

Sony Ericsson forecasts a slight growth in units in the global handset market in 2010.

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