Alcatel-Lucent CEO to step down

Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it is hunting for a new CEO, following reports of a fourth-quarter net loss of €1.37 billion (US$1.81 billion).

Current CEO Ben Verwaayen will step down as soon as a replacement is found, and will not seek re-election as a director, the company announced on Thursday.

Chairman Philippe Camus said Verwaayen had “created one company out of two” following Alcatel’s merger with Lucent Technologies. He “has recently seen through the completion of the stabilisation of the company’s balance sheet, enabling us to move forward with confidence,” Camus added in a statement.

But in the fourth quarter, Alcatel-Lucent made a net loss of €1.37 billion on revenue of €4.1 billion, which was down 1.3 percent on a year earlier, it reported on Thursday.

Things are perhaps not as bad as those figures suggest: The loss for the quarter included a goodwill impairment charge of €894 million following the company’s annual review of its assets, and a deferred tax charge of €514 million.

Fourth-quarter sales in North America rose 13.7 percent year on year, to €1.6 billion, but in Europe, sales fell 13 percent to €1.11 billion.

The fastest-growing business line was network applications software, up 52.9 percent year-on-year to €240 million, followed by IP networking equipment, up 26.4 percent to €574 million. Optical networking equipment sales, however, fell 22 percent to €565 million, while enterprise networking continued its slow decline, down 3.7 percent to €207 million.

Full-year revenue totalled €14.45 billion, down 5.7 percent year on year, with a net loss of €1.37 billion, compared to a €1.1 billion net profit in 2011.

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