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Sony Ericsson Q4 Sales Increase 40%

Tokyo — With 3G handsets and GSM color-screen camera phones driving growth, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications fourth-quarter sales soared 40 percent, hitting $2.6 billion, up from $1.9 billion in the year-ago period.

The joint mobile phone venture between Sony and Stockholm, Sweden-based LM Ericsson shipped 12.6 million units in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, a 56 percent jump over the 8 million shipped in the last three months of 2003.

Sony Ericsson posted its sixth consecutive quarterly profit, with income before taxes rising to $183 million in the fourth quarter, a 204 percent increase over the $60.1 million recorded in the same quarter a year earlier. Net income climbed 28 percent in the three months, reaching $71.9 million, up from a year-on-year $56.2 million. Prior to this, the company had lost money since its 2001 founding.

Average selling price per phone rose to $209 in the fourth quarter, up from $205 dollars in the third quarter of this year.

The company, which is benefiting from a booming global demand for mobile phones and a growing number of handsets, posted 12 month sales of $8.5 billion, compared with a year-earlier $6.1 billion.

Income before taxes for the 12 months increased to $635.3 million, moving into the black, when compared with a loss of $169.9 million in 2003. Net income for the 12 months also moved into the black, rising to $413 million, up from a loss of $112.4 million the previous year.