NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Motorola Inc., the world's No. 2 maker of mobile telephones, lowered earning forecasts Wednesday for the fourth quarter and full year, as well as for 2001, blaming slower growth in mobile phone sales and weakness in the euro.|
The news pushed Motorola's already battered stock to fresh 52-week lows.
Motorola (MOT: Research, Estimates) shares tumbled $4.50, or 17 percent, to $21.75 in early trading.
In a conference call with industry analysts, the company said it expects to earn 27 cents a share in the fourth quarter, well short of the First Call consensus estimate of 37 cents a share. Sales are expected to come in at $10.5 billion.
Full-year 2000 and 2001 earnings also are forecast to come in lower than expected.
The company said 2000 earnings should total 96 cents a share versus the $1.06 per-share forecast compiled by First Call. Sales for the full year are expected to total $38 billion.
For 2001, the company forecast earnings of $1.20 a share and sales of $44 billion. Analysts had forecast profit of $1.44 per share in 2001.
Motorola revised downward its estimate of worldwide industry mobile phone unit sales for 2000 to a range of 410 million to 425 million units, from a
previous projection of 425 million to 450 million units. While that is still substantial growth, the pace is slower than expected, the company said.
Lower mobile phone sales also cuts into Motorola's semiconductor business, because the company uses the computer chips in its wireless phones.
Late Tuesday, the Schaumburg, Ill.-based company reported third-quarter earnings that matched analysts' forecasts. Excluding special charges, Motorola posted operating earnings of $598 million, or 26 cents a share, up from 16 cents a share a year earlier. Sales rose to $9.5 billion from $8.1 billion a year earlier.
Shares of the other two major mobile telephone makers also were under pressure Wednesday. In Helsinki, industry leader Nokia fell 4.6 percent to 37.98 euros, while Ericsson, No. 3 in the industry, lost 4.8 percent to 139 Swedish crowns in Stockholm.
Ericsson is due to report third-quarter results Oct. 20 while Nokia releases its results Oct. 26.
-- from staff and wire reports