Alcatel-Lucent ( ALU) picked up where its struggling predecessor companies left off Tuesday, warning of a steep fourth-quarter sales shortfall.

The Paris-based telecom equipment maker, formed last November in a merger of France's Alcatel and New Jersey's mishap-plagued Lucent, said it expects to post sales of 3.87 billion euros for the quarter ended last month. That equates to $5.02 billion -- far short of the $5.33 billion Thomson Financial target.

On an adjusted pro-forma basis, Alcatel-Lucent expects fourth quarter 2006 revenue of 4.42 billion euros, down from 5.25 billion a year ago. Fourth-quarter operating profit is expected to be break-even, compared with a 570 million-euro profit last year.

The company blamed "short-term uncertainty" tied to the merger and to its acquisition of a wireless business from Nortel ( NT).

Alcatel-Lucent said it hopes to grow during 2007 at a mid-single-digit rate. The company said it raised its cost savings goal for 2007 as well, to 600 million euros from 400 million.

Shares fell 12% in Europe ahead of the open in New York.

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