Lucent Posts Strong Quarter, Breaks $30 Billion For Year

Lucent Technologies Inc. today reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profits and posted 23% revenue growth in continuing operations.

Excluding acquisition charges, net income rose 49% to $548 million, compared to $369 million in the year-ago quarter. Earnings per share were 41 cents, beating Wall Street estimate of 39 cents.

Lucent had revenue of $8.04 billion for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, up 16% over the $6.9 billion it reported last year. With only continuing operations accounted for, since Lucent sold its advanced technology systems and consumer operations businesses in the past year, the growth was 23%.

For the fiscal year, revenue rose 20% on continuing operations and 14% on a reported basis to $30.15 billion, compared to reported revenue of $26.36 billion last year. Excluding charges, income was up 52% to $2.29 billion from last year's $1.51 billion.

The growth is particularly notable given the tight economic atmosphere and Lucent's size, for which any dramatic growth means billions of dollars of new business. Lucent CEO Richard McGinn says it's possible for Lucent to continue growing at such rates.

Lucent saw gains in all areas of its business, particularly in the market outside the United States, where it had 41% growth. Business communications products, including those messaging products acquired with Octel Communications last year, saw the biggest increases, rising 35% to $2.44 billion from the year-ago quarter. The unit that sells to telecom carriers grew 22% to $4.74 billion. Despite a tight semiconductor market, Lucent's microelectronics business was up 4% to $811 million for the quarter.

Lucent also said today that it was ending its consumer products partnership with Royal Philips Electronics that it started when it got rid of its own consumer unit. Lucent will sell its portion of the venture that covers phones and answering machines, as well as a telephone leasing business. It will make the products until it finds a buyer. It will close its wireless handset portion of the venture.

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