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Ericsson's New CEO Optimistic about Sony JV
Apr 8, 2003
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Carl-Henric Svanberg, the incoming chief executive of Telefon AB LM Ericsson, on Tuesday expressed support for the Swedish company's troubled mobile phone alliance with Sony Corp., saying the joint venture continues to have "strategic value" for Ericsson. Mr. Svanberg said the phone joint venture, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, fits well with Ericsson's core business of providing equipment for cellular phone networks. Ericsson is said to be the world's largest wireless systems supplier. "It's an important argument that our customers have wanted the phones, but also it serves as an important indicator of where the (wireless) market is going," he said at a news conference. Mr. Svanberg will take over as Ericsson's CEO and president later Tuesday, following the company's annual shareholders meeting. Sony Ericsson has been unprofitable since Ericsson and Sony created it in the fall of 2001, combining their struggling phone operations. Sony and Ericsson agreed earlier this year to each inject EUR150 million (U.S. $160.2 million) into the company, but some analysts have forecast that Ericsson may eventually sell its 50 percent stake to Sony. Mr. Svanberg said he was impressed by how quickly the two owners had been able to integrate their cultures within the joint venture and by how quickly Sony Ericsson had launched new phone models. Mr. Svanberg, who previously was CEO of lock maker Assa Abloy AB, declined to provide any new financial or market guidance, saying Ericsson would revisit its forecasts when it reports first-quarter results April 29, 2003. (Dow Jones)

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