Alcatel's ( ALA) third-quarter profit jumped 36% from a year ago as sales of telecommunications equipment to big phone companies started to rebound.

The French gearmaker earned $321.9 million, or 23 cents per American depositary share, in the quarter, compared with $236.0 million, 17 cents per ADS, a year ago. The latest quarter included a gain of 9 cents per ADS related to its space business, before which earnings matched the Wall Street forecast.

Sales rose to $3.98 billion from $3.65 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $3.64 billion in the latest quarter.

"Our growth strategy has paid off with strong advances in the third quarter in our carrier business, which was up 13% year over year and 9% sequentially," Alcatel said. "We were particularly pleased to see our fixed communication revenues start increasing again, as anticipated, reversing a four-year decline."

The company said full-year earnings should be about 73 cents a share on revenue growth at the high end of its 5% to 8% year-over year range. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 74 cents a share on sales of $15.94 billion.

"In this market context, and with initial deployments of triple play and mobile NGN, to which we are committed in the fourth quarter at our major customers and which generate costs still disproportionate to booked sales, we now see our outlook for the full-year operating margin at around 9%," the company said. "Expanding operating profitability in the future will continue to remain a priority focus."

The stock lost 60 cents, or 4.7%, to $12.01 early Thursday.

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