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Sony Ericsson back in black in 2010

STOCKHOLM, Jan 20, 2011 – Mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson on Thursday reported a return to profit in 2010 thanks to its Android-based smartphones but its fourth quarter earnings and sales fell far short of analyst expectations.

The Japanese-Swedish group, now the sixth-biggest player in the global market, said that in the three months to December it made a net profit of just eight million euros ($10.8 million) on sales down 13 percent at 1.53 billion euros.

While the net profit was a vast improvement over the 167-million-euro loss posted in fourth quarter 2009, it missed analyst estimates polled by the Dow Jones Newswires, which averaged 68 million euros.

The company\’s fourth quarter sales also fell far short of analyst expectations of 1.75 billion euros.

For all of 2010, the picture was a bit brighter, with a net profit of 90 million euros (121 million dollars), after a net loss 836 million in 2009.

However, full-year sales were down seven percent to 6.29 billion euros.

In its efforts to return to profit, Sony Ericsson has over the past year laid off some 4,000 employees and has refocused its business on smart phones based on the Android platform developed by Google.

Last year "was a turnaround year for Sony Ericsson. Our four consecutive quarters of profit reflect the success of our shift towards an Android-based smartphone portfolio," company president and chief executive Bert Nordberg said in the earnings statement.

The mobile phone maker estimates it last year accounted for four percent of the global market of 1.2 billion phones sold and six percent in terms of value.

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Sony Ericsson, which in 2010 shipped 43.1 million phones, said it "forecasts modest growth in units in the global handset market for 2011."

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