Telecom equipment supplier

ECI Telecom

(Nasdaq:ECIL) reported a record loss of $256.4 million for the first quarter of 2001.

In the parallel quarter of 2000, ECI netted $23 million.

Its loss per share came to $0.45 (excluding one-time charges), far exceeding the average analyst prediction of 34 cents per share.

Sales came to $252.5 million, compared with $263 million in the comparable quarter of 2000 - a drop of 4%.

Its operating loss of $242.6 million was another record. For the previous quarter, the fourth of 2000, ECI had reported an operating loss of $120 million.

Slammed by the slowdown

CEO Doron Inbar said that the company's results demonstrate the slowdown pervading the global telecommunications equipment industry, as well as ECI's reorganization. In early 2001 ECI completed the formal steps of demerging into five independent companies.

Inbar predicted that the group would revert to profit in the fourth quarter of 2001. How can a company shift from such enormous operating losses to profit in a mere three quarters? Inbar says it will cut costs, mainly wage costs. The effect of its belt-tightening will be felt in the second quarter, Inbar said.

On the swirling rumors regarding investments in the baby ECIs, Inbar merely said that negotiations are ongoing.

Inovia's operating loss comes in four times the parallel

Inovia Telecoms reported revenue of $63.6 million for the first quarter, compared with $62.7 million for the parallel quarter. It posted an operating loss of $30.7 million, four times its loss in the parallel.

Inovia's management says it successfully penetrated the markets of Europe and Asia, and also won several key European tenders.

Inovia handles access solutions division in the ECI group.

Lightscape's sales dip 15%

Lightscape Networks

, the optics network division that may or may not be slated for sale, ended the first quarter with sales of $53.4 million, 15% down from the parallel.

It too posted an operating loss, $4.4 million in its case, compared with a profit of $8.4 million in the first quarter of 2000.

The company says the weak global markets hindered the penetration of new products. It added that visibility regarding its new products is dim.

Speculated figures for Lightscape's value for sale diverge hugely. A year ago prices were quoted in the billions. Nowadays its price would seem to range from $600 million to $800 million.

Enavis reports growing sales to North America

Enavis Networks, which concentrates on telecommunications bandwidth management products and services, finished the first quarter with revenues of $38.6 million compared with $32.2 million in the first quarter of 2000. Most of its 20% growth in sales was generated in North America, the company says.

Excluding one-time charges, Enavis was the only baby ECI to show a profit. It posted an operating profit of $300,000. But in the comparable quarter of 2000, it contributed an operating profit of $4.7 million.

Innowave reports 60% sales growth

InnoWave ECI Wireless Systems

reported 60% growth in sales fro the comparable quarter to $35.2 million.

Innowave, which engages in fixed wireless access, recorded an operating loss of $1.7 million excluding one-time charges, compared with losing $1.5 million in the corresponding quarter of 2000.

ECtel

(Nasdaq:ECTX), in which ECI holds a 75% stake, ended the quarter with sales of $18.2 million, up 38% from the parallel.