Marconi upbeat as losses narrow

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Marconi said on Monday it had narrowed its losses during the first quarter and remained on track for low single-digit sales growth in the full-year.

The company, which cut jobs and offloaded numerous assets in a bid to stay afloat during the downturn in the telecoms sector, also said it had seen evidence of improved stability in its core equipment market.

The group narrowed its pre-tax loss for the quarter to ?39m ($71.9m) compared with ?105m last year, but group sales declined year-on-year from ?367m to ?339m.

Sales from ongoing operations were ?289, down 1 per cent from ?291m last year, but up 3 per cent on a constant currency basis.

The group?s adjusted gross margin for the quarter was 32.2 per cent compared with 34.3 per cent last year and 25.4 per cent year-on-year.

Although this represented a significant improvement year-on-year, Marconi said in a trading update last month that it was at the lower end of guidance as it suffered seasonally lower production volumes and an adverse business mix.

Nevertheless, Mike Parton, chief executive, said on Monday the company remained on track to meet its full-year sales and margin targets.

?We see more opportunities for sales of our next generation equipment and services than at any time in the last three years, which gives us confidence in our medium-term growth prospects,? he said.

The group?s shares were down 3.5 per cent at 588.5p.

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