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Lucent, Several Telecom Firms Beat the Street

April 23, 1999| From Times Wire Services

Several telecommunications companies posted profits Thursday that met or surpassed Wall Street expectations, lifted by stronger demand for both traditional and advanced communications services. Meanwhile, two of the major cellular phone makers reported dramatically different results.

Lucent Technologies Inc., the world's No. 1 phone-equipment maker, said its profit from operations more than doubled in the fiscal second quarter to $457 million, or 17 cents a share, from $165 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, on a 33% jump in sales. The results beat analysts' average estimate of 15 cents.

Lucent said its networking equipment was in high demand by companies racing to build high-speed networks to transmit voice and data to businesses and consumers. Lucent's chips, which are the brainpower in cellular phones and other electronics products, also saw sales increases.

At a Glance

Other earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:

* Bell Atlantic Corp., which plans to acquire GTE Corp., said its first-quarter profit before charges rose 11% to $1.15 billion, or 73 cents a share, in line with analyst estimates. Revenue grew 4% to $7.97 billion, led by growth in data and wireless services. The company also kept costs in check.

* GTE's operating profit also matched estimates, rising 16% to $723 million, or 74 cents. Revenue grew 8% to $5.9 billion, paced by an 81% jump in sales from GTE Internetworking data services and a 51% rise in sales from long-distance services. Revenue was up 7% to $5.88 billion.

* AirTouch, the nation's largest wireless company, said its operating profit climbed 83% to $211 million, or 35 cents, beating forecasts of 32 cents. AirTouch benefited from an 84% increase in customers in international markets and by keeping costs in line. Revenue rose 27% to $2.12 billion.

* Nokia Oyj, the world's largest cellular phone maker, said first-quarter profit jumped 50% to about $536 million, fueled by sales of new phones and lower costs.

* Ericsson, the world's third-largest cellular phone maker, said its net income dropped by half in the first quarter to about $108 million from a year ago. That was below forecasts. The Swedish company cited higher costs to develop new products and a decline in mobile sales.

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