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Sony Ericsson Cellphone Q1 Sales Rise 66%

4/19/2004 12:05:00 PM Eastern

Stockholm, Sweden — Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, a cellphone-making joint venture between Sweden’s LM Ericsson and Japan’s Sony, enjoyed a 66 percent sales increase in the first quarter, hitting $1.6 billion, up from $968.7 million in the year-ago period.

The company’s cellphone unit shipments jumped 63 percent in the first quarter, ended March 31, hitting an all-time high of 8.8 million, compared with more than 5 million year-on-year.

Sony Ericsson said it was "gaining momentum" in the mid- and entry-level phone price ranges, and was doing especially well with sales of its camera phones. The company also has increased its estimate for global cellphone market sales in 2004, to over 550 million units, from about 520 million units.

Sony Ericsson reported its third consecutive quarterly profit, following steady losses since its 2001 founding, with net income jumping to $98.5 million, compared with a loss of $125 million in the first quarter of last year.

Income before taxes reached $116.6 million in the first three months, compared with a loss of $135.8 million year-over year. Both favorable market conditions and restructuring initiatives taken in 2003 were responsible for the profit improvements, said the company.

With its expansion of lower priced cellphones, the company expects average selling prices to decrease somewhat in the remainder of 2004.

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