Nortel Losses Narrow, Even on Layoff Expenses

Nortel Networks narrowed its losses to $508 million in the third quarter, down from $3.41 billion in the year-ago period.

The bankrupt telecom equipment maker released its most recent financial results late Monday.

Revenue dropped to $1.05 billion, as compared to $1.6 billion in 2008’s third quarter, as all but one segment reported lower sales. Nortel’s expenses included $52 million for job cuts and other payments that historically would have been recorded in special charges.

There was some good news, though. Revenue from Nortel’s carrier VoIP and application solutions unit totaled $208 million, a 14 percent increase compared to last year. Nortel said the jump was due to contract deliveries and project completions.

Nonetheless, almost all the rest of Nortel’s financial news was disheartening as the company continues to part itself out. And the amount of money spent on R&D also seemed to indicate executives’ intent toward that aspect of Nortel – R&D expenses dropped 32 percent to $184 million, and would have fallen by 39 percent if it hadn’t been for the way certain losses are recorded.

Nortel reported a consolidated cash balance as of Sept. 30 of $1.81 billion.

In a prepared statement, Nortel said its third-quarter financials were hurt by “ongoing negative economic conditions and the uncertainty created by the Company’s Creditor Protection Proceedings, which resulted in a decrease in customers’ spending levels.”

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