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Lucent stalls Agere IPO; signs European contracts

Wed, 03/21/2001 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

Even as it stalls a spinoff's IPO for the week amid slurs about its stocks, Lucent Technologies hit the headlines with news of overseas contracts and customers.

Agere, Lucent's optical-components spinoff, was to issue a $6.5 billion IPO this week, but observers say debt problems - some $8.1 billion as of Dec. 31, 2000 - are holding up the deal. Underwritten by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the 500 million shares were to sell at $12 to $14 per, but now are expected to go even lower. Once completed, however, Agere will take on $2.5 billion of the debt, something shareholders may frown upon.

That and a slowing market are prompting Lucent to turn to Europe and its fast-growing mobile, Internet telephony, broadband and fiber optics markets, AP reports. Lucent just signed a multiyear contract to supply Germany's Deutsche Telekom with optical transmission systems for Deutsche's high-speed global optical communications network. Considered a key contract for Lucent, the Telekom Global Net will cover Europe, with a second network to be built in North America.

Lucent will supply WaveStar OLS 400G - a DWDM system that ups fiber optic cable capacity — and ADM16/1 transmission systems, which combines multiple low-speed electrical and optical inputs into a 2.5-gigabit-per-second signal.

The company also will supply systems and service to Arcor in Germany for its broadband network, as well as British Telecommunication's Internet telephony system.

Other projects include fiber-optic networks for Jazztel plc in southern Europe and broadband telephone networks in Andhra Pradesh, India.

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