Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent Post Merger Performance

Information accesses on 24 Jan 2008 from

Incorporated in:

Executive Offices:
54 rue la Boétie
Paris 75008, France

Chief Executive Officer:
Patricia Russo

79,000* in 130 countries

Stock Listing:
Euronext Paris and NYSE - ALU

€18.3 billion* (CY06)

* after completion of the Thales transaction

Alcatel-Lucent's vision is to enrich people’s lives by transforming the way the world communicates. Born with an unparalleled ability to offer end-to-end communications solutions to our customers, we are focused on enhancing client relationships and enriching the lives of people through communications. Expert, driven, intuitive, innovative, Alcatel-Lucent is the first truly global communications solutions provider, with the most complete end-to-end portfolio of solutions and services in the industry.

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent’s vision is to enrich people’s lives by transforming the way the world communicates. Alcatel-Lucent provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband access, carrier and enterprise IP technologies, applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move.

With 79,000 employees (after the completion of the Thales transaction) and operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The company has the most experienced global services team in the industry, and Bell Labs, one of the largest research, technology and innovation organizations focused on communications. Alcatel-Lucent achieved adjusted proforma revenues of Euro 18.3 billion* in 2006, and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris.

With a strong focus on complete solutions maximizing value for customers, Alcatel-Lucent is organized around three business groups and two geographic regions. The Carrier Business Group serves fixed, wireless and convergent service providers - as well as enterprises and governments for their business critical communications. The Enterprise Business Group focuses on meeting the needs of business customers. The Services Business Group designs, deploys, manages and maintains networks worldwide. The company's geographic regions are the Americas and Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Innovation & Technology
Alcatel-Lucent today is one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry, representing a combined R&D investment of Euro 2.7 billion in 2005, and a portfolio of over 25,000 active patents spanning virtually every technology area. At the core of this innovation is Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs, which brings together Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs and Alcatel’s Research & Innovation organizations, providing Alcatel-Lucent with an innovation engine comprising researchers and scientists at the forefront of research into areas such as multimedia and convergent services and applications, new service delivery architectures and platforms, wireless and wireline, broadband access, packet and optical networking and transport, network security, enterprise networking and communication services and fundamental research in areas such as nanotechnology, algorithmic, and computer sciences.

Formed from the merger of Alcatel and Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent combines two entities that share a common lineage that can be traced back to 1986, when Alcatel’s parent company, CGE (la Compagnie Générale d’Electricité), acquired ITT’s European telecom business. Nearly 60 years earlier, ITT had purchased most of AT&T’s manufacturing operations outside the United States. AT&T was Lucent’s former parent company.

By creating Alcatel-Lucent we are bringing our common lineages back together and starting an exciting new chapter of our history -- creating the world’s first truly global communications solutions provider, with the most complete end-to-end portfolio of solutions and services in the industry.


September 2007

Restructuring Plan

Pat Russo, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, has been given one month to present an emergency restructuring plan to her board, as well as lay out where the group should focus its future research and sales efforts.

Ms Russo is also being urged to streamline the telecommunications equipment group’s organisational structure, particularly the executive committee, which has grown top heavy since the merger of equals between Alcatel of France and Lucent of the US
Directors believe this has slowed decision-making and helped spark the crisis that has led to three profit warnings in less than 10 months.

The group’s directors met in Paris on Friday for an update on the crisis, where they told Ms Russo to present the information at the next board meeting on October 30. Directors are intersted to know the next step, after the restructuring is done.

Alcatel-Lucent has been struggling with a rapidly deteriorating market in the US, as well as the typical integration problems that beset many mergers. However, some inside the company say management has not been quick enough to make the necessary hard decisions, including a far more radical approach to cost-cutting and the elimination of management and operational duplications.

Per Lindberg, analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort, on Thursday published a research note calling on Alcatel-Lucent to replace Ms Russo with Mike Quigley, former chief operating officer and one-time heir apparent to Mr Tchuruk, who quit last month.

Mr Lindberg, who changed his rating on Alcatel-Lucent from “hold” to “buy”, said the company should consider disposals so as to pay for a more ambitious reduction in its workforce.

Alcatel-Lucent is planning to reduce the workforce by 12,500, but Mr Lindberg said it should be cut by 30,000, so as to bring productivity in line with rivals such as Ericsson.

He added that Alcatel-Lucent should refocus its research and marketing on areas where the company had competitive strength.

“There is little doubt that the merger between Alcatel and Lucent has turned into a veritable fiasco,” said Mr Lindberg.

Patricia Russo was beaming on Dec. 1, 2006, when she appeared at a Paris press conference celebrating her appointment as chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent, a $26 billion global telecom equipment giant newly created by an historic Franco-American merger. She has had little reason to smile since then. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) has posted three consecutive quarterly losses.

On Oct. 31, 2007 the company announced an emergency restructuring plan under which one in five of its 80,000 employees will lose his job by 2009. Shares are down a stomach-churning 50% since January, and five of Russo's top deputies have left the company. Many industry-watchers now say the merger was a mistake.

Russo agrees it has been an awful year for Alcatel-Lucent. But she staunchly defends the merger and cites evidence the worst is now over. Alcatel-Lucent's recent turmoil stems not from bad strategy but from "problems that we're going to work our way out of."

One of those problems, Russo now admits, was that integrating Alcatel and Lucent proved more disruptive than expected. Customers, uncertain about possible changes in the merged company's product lineup, hesitated to place new orders. At the same time many employees were "distracted" by worries their jobs would change or be eliminated, she says.

That opened the door to aggressive competitors such as mobile equipment market leader Ericsson (ERIC) and Huawei Technologies, who have grabbed market share from Alcatel-Lucent's wireless network business. "Our competitors pulled the rug out from under us," Russo says. "They put forward some very aggressive pricing." Some mobile operators jumped ship, and while Alcatel-Lucent was able to hold onto others, it often had to give discounts or concessions that ate up profits.

Profitability also suffered as Alcatel-Lucent tried to streamline its product lineup. Take W-CDMA, the third-generation wireless technology the company adopted as a successor to the so-called CDMA technology central to its U.S. wireless business. Russo says she decided to discontinue much of the W-CDMA gear developed by Alcatel, replacing it with equipment made by a unit of Nortel (NT), which the merged company acquired earlier this year. When customers began changing over to new equipment, Alcatel-Lucent had to absorb much of the cost.

Russo acknowledges too that until a few months ago, some of Alcatel-Lucent's product offerings weren't up to par technologically. "We were late in getting to the refresh of the latest technology" for GSM networks—the second-generation mobile standard used in most countries outside the U.S. The GSM offering was updated several months ago, she says, and now "That business is doing just fine."

Indeed, Russo says many of the problems bedeviling Alcatel-Lucent over the past year are starting to ease. Customers now have clearer information about the merged company's product portfolio. And rivals such as Ericsson can't afford to keep luring customers away with aggressive pricing, as their own profits have tumbled .

According to Russo,Alcatel-Lucent also is powering ahead in developing countries Just this week it won a $1.1 billion contract with two Chinese mobile operators for network equipment. Its fixed-telephone and broadband equipment business, though suffering from the housing slump in the U.S., is generally healthy too. The company remains the world leader in digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband equipment and hopes to translate its big customer footprint and strong carrier relationships into a post position for the coming rollout of optical networks to neighborhoods and homes.

With an eye to falling prices and tightening margins for basic telecom equipment, Russo also is pushing Alcatel-Lucent increasingly into the service and support business, where it already ranks No. 2 globally—behind Ericsson. A team of 20,000 field technicians operating in 130 countries has won Alcatel-Lucent contracts to build and operate fixed and mobile networks for carriers around the world, and services should account for about one-quarter of the company's top line this year, up from 20% in 2006. The services market worldwide is growing at double the rate of telecom equipment.

Russo is confident the company will emerge stronger and more competitive. "This merger still has strategic logic," she says.

Is the Worst Over at Alcatel-Lucent?
Business Week, Europe November 28, 2007,


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