Ericsson Q4 tops forecast as margin pressure eases

STOCKHOLM Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:48am EST

STOCKHOLM Jan 31 (Reuters) - Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson reported a bigger than expected rise in fourth quarter core profit on Thursday as pressure on margins eased and its core networks business performed well in North America.

Earnings before interest and tax, excluding the company's joint ventures, but including restructuring charges, rose to 4.8 billion Swedish crowns from 4.1 billion to beat a mean forecast of 4.3 billion in a Reuters poll.

Sales at Ericsson, the world number one mobile network equipment maker, were 66.9 billion crowns against a forecast of 65.3 billion. The gross margin was 31.1 percent against a forecast of 30.1 percent.