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Ascom reveals poor first-half performance

Ascom boss, Urs Fischer, remains upbeat despite poor results


The telecommunications technology group, Ascom, has reported a net loss of SFr26 million ($15.5 million) for the first half of the current year, blaming restructuring costs and a poor business environment.

A company statement said the loss was not unexpected but some analysts had forecast net earnings at above SFr30 million. The figure released on Monday compared with earnings of SFr60 million for the first half of 2000.

Ascom said it expected losses to mount for the year as a whole following more restructuring costs and charges linked to the sales of its loss-making terminals division. But the company said it expected to have a balanced operating result for the year as a whole.

First-half sales revenues increased 3.3 per cent to SFr1.55 billion, while incoming orders were up 3.8 per cent.

In his reaction to the results, Ascom's CEO, Urs Fischer, said the course was now set for the company to improve its performance but that the turnaround would take longer than anticipated because of the difficult market circumstances.

The Bern-based group announced in June that it plans to cut 1,100 jobs by the end of the year, 400 of them in Switzerland. The restructuring plan aims to generate savings of up to SFr70 million after two or three years.

Ascom had around 10,700 employees at the end of June.

Fischer said on Monday that the company's core businesses - Integrated Services, Energy Systems, New Technologies and Enterprise Communications - had great growth potential.

Ascom's share price fell almost ten per cent in early trading as the markets took in the figures but later recovered most of the losses.

swissinfo with agencies


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