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Ericsson sees Sony Ericsson profitable by year-end

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Sweden’s Ericsson stands by its ailing Sony Ericsson phones venture, and expects the business to move into the black towards the end of 2010 as new phones hit the shelves.

“Over this year we will see continuous improvement in financials we will get into profitable quarters, more towards the end of the year,” Jan Wareby, Ericsson’s Multimedia unit head, told Reuters at the Mobile World Congress on Thursday.

“From an Ericsson perspective, the venture has all the sense in the world. The strategic logic has not changed. Actually, a lot of logic to do the joint venture has started to materialise and will do even more in coming years,” he said.

Sony Ericsson reported its seventh straight quarterly loss in January and said there would only be slight growth in the market this year. Management had not previously said when it expected the firm to move back into the black.

Ericsson has in the past financially supported the venture, but Wareby said this was not needed at the moment.

“We were backing them last year. At the moment we do not see the need (for financial assistance),” he said.

Wareby said Sony Ericsson, the global number four phone maker, would be helped this year by new launches. The firm unveiled three new models on the eve of the mobile fair’s opening.

“The ambition with the new products is to get a bigger (market) share,” Wareby said.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki, writing by Brett Young, editing by Will Waterman