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Motorola Cellphone Segment Q4 Sales Soar 51%

Schaumburg, Ill. — Healthy sales of new mobile phones boosted fourth-quarter business at Motorola’s mobile phone segment by 51 percent, with dollar volume hitting $4.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion in the year-ago period.

Fourth quarter operating earnings at the company’s personal communications cellphone segment — by far its largest business — more than quadrupled to $526 million in the fourth quarter, ended December 31, compared with $127 million in the same three months last year.

Wireless handset shipments soared to 31.8 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 42 percent over shipments in the same three months of 2003. Motorola said this robust increase was due to “compelling products that combined style and cutting-edge technology and quality.”

Motorola said it shipped 20 new handset models in the fourth quarter — all with color displays and more than half with integrated cameras, bring total shipped in 2004 to 60 new handset models.

For the 12 months, personal-communications segment sales increased 53 percent, hitting $16.8 billion, up from $11 billion for all of last year. Segment operating earnings for the 12 months more than tripled to $1.7 billion, compared with a year-earlier $479 million.

Movement of new mobile phones helped boost consolidated fourth-quarter sales at Motorola by 27 percent, climbing to $8.8 billion, up from $6.9 billion in the year-ago period. Net earnings, including discontinued operations, rose 34 percent, hitting $654 million in the three months, compared with a year-on-year $489 million.

For the full year, Motorola consolidated sales rose 35 percent, reaching $31.3 billion, compared with a year-ago $23.2 billion. Year-long net earnings came in at $1.5 billion, up from $893 million in 2003.