Turbulent markets factor in Ericsson share slide

Stockholm  - Ericsson chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg put on a brave face Wednesday before meeting shareholders at the annual general meeting of the Swedish telecommunications equipment maker.

Although the Ericsson share price has been battered, dropping about half its value since April 2007, Svanberg told reporters that pre-tax income of 31 billion kronor (5.2 billion dollars) for full- year 2007 was the group's "third best result ever."

The share price was impacted by a profit warning issued in October that also saw the chief financial officer leave the group, but Svanberg also attributed some of the recent slide to the turbulence in the international financial markets.

"I am a big shareholder, so I have not missed how the share price has developed," Svanberg told Swedish radio news. "But if look at the market we see similar developments for a large number of technology shares around the world."

Citing that Ericsson was in a "silent period" pending the presentation of first quarter results at the end of the month, Svanberg repeated previous estimates that it expected sales in 2008 to remain flat.

Svanberg in February said "market conditions" were "tougher" for its mainstay network operations, and announced some 4,000 job cuts including 1,000 in Sweden when he presented the group's fourth quarter 2007 earnings and full-year results. (dpa)

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