Sweden’s Ericsson says Q4 profits dropped

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish wireless equipment maker LM Ericsson AB says fourth-quarter profits fell by more than two-thirds compared with a year earlier due to a severe margin squeeze and bigger losses in its Sony Ericsson joint venture.

The company reported Wednesday a net profit for the fourth quarter of 1.15 billion kronor ($170 million), down from 4.32 billion kronor in the Oct.-Dec. period in the previous year.

Sales in the three-month period rose by 1 percent to 63.67 billion kronor — not enough to offset heavier pressure on its gross margin, which fell to 30.2 percent from a previous 34.7 percent.

Losses in the Sony Ericsson joint venture also hurt the Stockholm-based company.

Ericsson last year sold its share in Sony Ericsson to Sony, but the deal is being finalized in this quarter.

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