Nortel Reports Huge Losses, Wants to Pay Exec Bonuses

Bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp. (NT) is getting scrappy in its fight for survival.

The Canada-based telecom equipment maker reported a net loss of $2.14 billion in 2008’s fourth quarter but, at the same time, said it wants to set aside $45 million for bonuses for approximately 1,000 executives. Nortel says it’s trying to get its top 1,000 executives to stick with the company through this, its worst financial predicament ever.

If the money were distributed equally, the bonuses would total $45,000 per exec.

Nortel’s latest losses surmount those of the same year-ago period: $844 million. Nortel executives said a 15 percent revenue drop and a non-cash writedown of $1.24 billion in “goodwill” assets were to blame. There also was a non-cash charge of $951 million relating to deferred tax assets.

Nortel did not hold the typical conference call with analysts to report its fourth-quarter results. A company spokesman did say Nortel has named Pavi Binning as its chief restructuring officer; Binning will keep his post as CFO as well.

Monday’s earnings news came after Nortel said last week it’s laying off more workers – this time, 3,200.

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