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Ascom losses trimmed by almost a half

Ascom has been selling off business units to repair its balance sheet. Ascom

The Bern-based technology group, Ascom, has reported that it made a first-half loss of SFr57 million ($40.2 million), almost half that of the comparable period last year (SFr100 million).

This content was published on September 4, 2003 - 11:01

Ascom, which has been struggling to repair its balance sheet, said that its accumulated losses largely resulted from areas that had been sold or extensively restructured or were in a restructuring phase.

The news sent the share price rising by more than 11 per cent on the Zurich stock exchange in late Thursday morning trading to SFr10.40 from Wednesday's close of SFr9.35.

The group said in a statement that in spite of difficult market conditions, it had clearly improved the operating result with almost stable revenue in its core businesses.

It also increased incoming orders in those areas by 5.5 per cent.

The statement added that the company had further reduced net debts, mainly through divestments. At the end of June, the group had debts of SFr206 million (SFr264 at the end of December).

Ascom - which has been focusing on the four areas of Transport Revenue, Security Solutions, Network Integration and Wireless Solutions - said total first-half revenues fell to SFr833 million, down from SFr1.09 billion a year ago.

Restructuring

The group commented that among “high priority tasks” for the second half were restructuring of the Payphones and Manufacturing units in France, adaptation of cost structures to market conditions and the sale of major parts of its real estate portfolio in Switzerland.

It added that based on the “profound” technology know-how in its core businesses, Ascom would grow primarily organically, as well as through sales and technology alliances without financial participation.

The company also wants to expand its service business to be a long-term partner for its customers.

Ascom’s Transport Revenue is the worldwide number two in the field of revenue collection systems and number one in the United States for parking systems at airports.

The company said it saw growth potential in these expanding markets, above all with new projects worldwide (see Related Stories).

Ascom had a workforce of 5,592 at the end of June, down by 1,712 or 23 per cent compared with the end of December.

Through the sale of its Energy Systems, 1,231 jobs passed to Delta Electronics.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Ascom made a first-half net loss of SFr57 million, compared with a loss of SFr100 for the same period last year.

The group commented that it has shown a “clearly improved” operating result in its core businesses.

The company said that market conditions would remain difficult.

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Key facts

Ascom was formed in 1987 with the merger of the Autophon, Hasler and Zelleger companies.

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