Nortel (NT) shares jumped Wednesday on word the company is once again close to completing its bookkeeping cleanup and plans to file restated financials on Jan. 10.
The company said Wednesday that next week it expects to share preliminary financial results for the past three-and-a-half years. And demonstrating unusual confidence despite a string of four deadline disappointments, Nortel says it will file all its restated financial reports and "follow thereafter, as soon as practicable," with its third-quarter 2004 earnings report.
The Brampton, Ont., telecom gearmaker says its ongoing audit has turned up an additional $100 million in misbooked sales in 1999 and 2000. That brings the grand total of bogus sales for that period to $3.2 billion, up from $3.1 billion the company discovered last month.
Nortel apparently booked sales during the Internet construction boom in 1999 and 2000, that should have been recognized over a longer period. Much of the errors were recorded in Nortel's optical networking unit, which was posting 40% annual sales growth rates around the turn of the century.
The company says most of the misbooked revenue during the 1999 and 2000 period will be applied to later years. This will result in a net increase of $1.5 billion in 2001, $265 million in 2002 and $460 million in 2003. Previously, Nortel said adjustments would be $1.35 billion in 2001, $450 million in 2002 and $450 million in 2003.
Nortel says net earnings in 2003 will be reduced about 28%, less than the 35% reduction the company had previously expected. Nortel says about 18% of the 2003 net income reductions will affect continuing operations and that 82% will impact discontinued operations. Previously the split was a 30% impact on continuing operations and a 70% impact on discontinued operations.
This is significant since the controversial return-to-profit bonuses handed out to executives last year were based on earnings from continued operations.
Nortel will also seek its fifth waiver from its creditor Export Development Canada. The current waiver is set to expire on Friday.
Shares rose 9 cents, or 2%, to $3.82 in pre-market trading Wednesday.