* Verwaayen to remain until successor found
* Alcatel takes 1.4 bln eur non-cash charge
* Board recommends no dividend for 2012
* Verwaayen sees China, U.S. lifting gear sales this year
* Shares up 5 pct in Frankfurt
PARIS, Feb 7 Alcatel-Lucent announced
the departure of its chief executive after the telecom equipment
maker swung to a full-year net loss of 1.37 billion euros ($1.85
billion), hit by lower sales in Europe and China, and an
CEO Ben Verwaayen will step down once the group has found a
successor, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
Since arriving in September 2008, Verwaayen has been unable
to deliver on his pledge to return the group formed in a merger
in 2006 to "normal" with steady cash flow and profit.
Even after trimming its product portfolio and several rounds
of layoffs, the group remains hobbled by its smaller size and
higher proportional cost base compared to rivals Ericsson
, China's Huawei and Nokia-Siemens Networks
The group's fragility was laid bare last year when telecom
operators cut back on spending on network gear as the global
economic downturn dragged on.
Sales fell to 14.45 billion euros last year, down 5.7
percent compared with 2011, when Alcatel-Lucent managed its
first annual profit since the merger.
In the fourth quarter, usually the strongest for telecom
gear groups like Alcatel-Lucent, sales fell 1.3 percent compared
with a year earlier to 4.1 billion euros. Strong 13.7 percent
growth in the U.S. was not enough to offset weakness in Europe
The group's annual adjusted operating profit was 117 million
euros, giving it a margin of 2.9 percent.
Sales were largely in line with average estimates for sales
of 4.12 billion euros in the fourth quarter and 14.51 billion
for the year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Verwaayen told a conference call that a rebound in spending
by operators in China and continued strength in the U.S. would
lead to higher sales of telecom equipment this year.
"China will improve this year because key decisions about
LTE mobile will be made, and the U.S. will stay very strong," he
said. He did not provide annual guidance for this year, however.
Alcatel added that it was scrapping the dividend for last
The company said it booked a non-cash charge of 1.4 billion
euros "related to the depreciation of goodwill and fixed assets,
and the corresponding impact on deferred tax."
Chief Financial Officer Paul Tufano said the charges stemmed
largely from lower value attributed to the group's wireless and
In trading in Frankfurt, Alcatel-Lucent shares were
up 5 percent to 1.32 euros at 0713 GMT.
Shares in Alcatel have risen nearly 30 percent this year,
helped by a 2 billion-euro financing package that the company
sealed in January, reassuring investors about its balance-sheet
strength. But the group's market capitalisation of 3 billion
euros now stands at roughly one-tenth of its pre-merger levels.
"The combination of our recent refinancing and the
implementation of our restructuring plan will put the company on
a secure footing for the successor the Board will seek to
appoint," Verwaayen said.