Ericsson warns market may not improve in 2003


Ericsson, the world's largest mobile telephone equipment company, which employs 1,800 in Ireland, warned yesterday of a risk that there would be no improvement in market conditions next year.

The comments by Ericsson chief executive Mr Kurt Hellstrom extended the gloom that has engulfed the telecoms industry in the past 18 months. The company's shares hit their lowest level since September 1996 ahead of a meeting to ask shareholders for 30 billion Swedish krone (€3.3 billion) - equivalent to about 18 per cent of its current market value - to see it through the downturn.

Mr Hellstrom will tell shareholders tomorrow that the drought in orders from cash-strapped operators continues. "We don't think the market has become worse but the downturn has been prolonged. We have to face the possibility that next year doesn't turn upwards," he said yesterday. - (Financial Times Service)