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MOT sees $3.9B loss, blames cableco slowdown

Tue, 01/22/2002 - 7:00pm
Anne Kerven

It was the cable operators' cautious spending again. Motorola's Broadband Communications Segment saw sales, orders and earnings fall in fourth-quarter, nudged by tight-fisted cable operators. For its part, parent Motorola Inc. reported a 2001 $3.9 billion net loss on $30 billion in sales, although it cut its net debt in half.

Broadband unit sales fell 45 percent to $580 million in 2001, and orders fell 51 percent to $525 million. Operating earnings, excluding special items, dropped to $86 million from $163 million a year ago.

"The year-over-year declines resulted from a slowdown by cable operators in making capital investments and deploying subscriber equipment," President and COO Edward Breen says in a statement.

On the upside, the fourth quarter saw Motorola buy RiverDelta Networks for $300 million in stock and start the $260 million stock purchase of Synchronous Inc., which was finalized this month.

The acquisitions give the company routing and transport technologies it will use in its broadband products, Breen says.

Also during the quarter, Cox Communications chose Motorola's broadband services router for its broadband services in Orange County; Cleveland, Ohio; and Las Vegas.

The company also launched its DCT-2500 and DCT-2600 set-top boxes during the quarter and sealed a deal with AT&T Broadband to purchase 200,000 DCT-2500s. Finally, the unit shipped its 2 millionth set-top to Comcast Communications, had its DVi5000 digital set-top terminal Euro-DOCSIS qualified, and landed SB4200E certification for interoperability in its SURFboard cable modem.

Motorola Inc.'s fourth quarter was characterized in a $1.2 billion, or 55 cents a share, net loss, compared with a profit of $135 million, or 6 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Sales fell from $10.1 billion a year ago to $7.3 billion in fourth-quarter 2001.

Full-year sales reached $30 billion, compared with $37.6 billion in 2000. Losses for the year hit $3.9 billion, or $1.78 a share, compared with net earnings of $1.3 billion, or 58 cents a share, in 2000. The company more than halved its net debt, from $7.2 billion to $3.1 billion.

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