Updated from 3:38 a.m. EDTAlcatel-Lucent ( ALU) notched its seventh consecutive quarterly shortfall Thursday, but its first under new management, although its shares jumped as the loss narrowed significantly from a year ago. The Paris-based telecom-equipment maker reported a third-quarter loss of 40 million euros ($52.9 million), or 2 euro cents a share, as sales fell and the company recorded charges of 81 million euros related to the Alcatel-Lucent business combination. Adjusted for noncash items, Alcatel-Lucent said it had a profit of 41 million euros, or 2 euro cents a share. In the third quarter of 2007, the company reported a loss of 345 million euros. Revenue in the quarter was 4.065 billion euros, down 6.6% from a year earlier and 0.9% sequentially, the company said. Revenue in the carrier operating segment was 2.7 billion euros, down from 3.1 million euros a year earlier, a 13% decrease at current exchange rates. On average, analysts expected Alcatel-Lucent to post a profit of 5 euro cents on revenue of 4.04 billion euros, according to Thomson Reuters. Alcatel-Lucent said in a statement that profitability remains "unsatisfactory." Gross margin came in at the lower end of its expectations in the quarter, reflecting an "adverse shift in both our product and geographic mixes," the company said. In its last quarterly report, Alcatel-Lucent announced the departure of embattled CEO Pat Russo and Chairman Serge Tchuruk, architects of the company's merger. Former BP ( BP) head Ben Verwaayen took over the role of CEO last month, and Philippe Camus became the company's nonexecutive chairman.
"I am delighted to have joined Alcatel-Lucent, a company which has the talent, technologies and customer base to grow profitably in its market," Verwaayen said in Thursday's earnings report. Looking ahead, Alcatel-Lucent said it continues to anticipate that the global telecommunications-equipment and services market should be flat in 2008 at constant currencies. The company also reiterated that full-year revenue will be down in the low- to mid single-digit percentage range. Shares of Alcatel-Lucent rose 9.5% to $2.53. Among other networking-equipment makers, Cisco Systems ( CSCO) was down 0.5% at $17.79, Ericsson ( ERIC) gained 3.1%, and Nortel Networks ( NT) added 7.3%.