German electronics giant
saw its fourth-quarter profit rocket higher, thanks to continued strength in its cell-phone division and a recovery in its network segment.
Munich-based Siemens earned about $847 million in the quarter, up from about $62 million a year ago, assuming a $1.17-to-1 euro exchange rate. Overall sales were about $23.14 billion in the latest quarter, down about 7% from a year ago, while orders totaled $21.77 billion, down 4% from a year ago. The company expects earnings to rise at a double-digit percentage rate in fiscal 2004.
Siemens said its information and communications segment earned $66.7 million in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $380 million a year ago, with the segment that sells equipment to businesses and network carriers contributing to profitability. Siemens mobile information unit earned about $57 million in the quarter, compared with $28 million last year. Handset sales in the fourth quarter were 12.0 million units, compared with 7.8 million in the same period a year earlier, while the mobile unit's sales were $3.07 billion, roughly unchanged from a year ago.
"Following the volume declines of the past year, which were substantially driven by currency translation, our goal in fiscal 2004 is to restore growth and win market share," the company said in a statement. "As a number of our groups have demonstrated, we are well positioned for this effort, with our clear customer focus, strength in innovation, global competitiveness and sound financial condition. These qualities also create the basis for double-digit percentage growth in net income for fiscal 2004, assuming generally stable economic conditions."