Motorola reports $3.6B loss as phone sales fall by half

Motorola Inc. reported a net loss of $3.6 billion, or $1.57 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008. The company attributed much of the loss to tax charges and goodwill write-downs.

The company reported quarterly revenue of $7.14 billion, down 26% from a year earlier, with the biggest decline in its mobile phone division, where revenue fell 51% to $2.35 billion.

Breaking down its performance, Motorola reported that deferred taxes accounted for 91 cents of the the $1.57-per-share loss, goodwill impairment accounted for 71 cents, and investment impairments accounted for 9 cents.

Charges relating to business reorganization accounted for a loss of 5 cents per share. Motorola says it expects these and other reorganization measures to help it save around $1.5 billion this year.

Looking ahead, Motorola said that it expects a first-quarter loss of 10 to 12 cents per share, excluding the cost of reorganization, but it did not comment on the period after that. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect a per-share loss 6 cents for the first quarter.

The company has suspended the payment of dividends until further notice.

Motorola also said it is looking for a new chief financial officer, following the resignation of former CFO Paul J. Liska. The company has appointed its corporate controller, Edward J. Fitzpatrick, as interim CFO.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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