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Sony Ericsson makes headway

Results released Wednesday morning show handset vendor Sony Ericsson making progress on its bid to shoulder Korean vendor Samsung out of the third place in the global market share rankings.

In the final calendar quarter of 2006, the firm shipped 26 million units, up more than 60 per cent on the fourth quarter 2005 figure of 16.1 million. Sales were up by a similar amount, with the firm taking Eur3.78bn. Full year sales for 2006 were just shy of Eur11bn on shipments of 74.8 million units. Net income for the fourth quarter was Eur447m.

The company said its successes were in part down to strong performances in Latin America and Asia Pacific, as well as the popularity of its brand extension products, trading on Sony’s Cyber-shot camera and Walkman music player brands.

“Earlier investments in R&D and marketing have enabled us to expand the portfolio and strengthen the brand to increase consumer and operator appeal. Our target is to become one of the top three players in the industry, and the momentum we established in 2006 makes this an achievable ambition,” said Miles Flint, president of Sony Ericsson.

“These are fantastic results, and they’re no real surprise,” said Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Dave McQueen. “I do think Samsung will be worried,” he said. “Sony Ericsson has probably been the best vendor at stimulating its product portfolio recently and it will be the firm that we will see eating up market share.”

While Samsung’s performance in 2006 was shaky at times, it remains some way ahead of Sony Ericsson. The most recent figures from Gartner – for the third quarter of 2006 – put Samsung at 12.2 per cent of global market share and Sony Ericsson at 7.7 per cent.

Samsung shifted 116 million units in 2006, the Korean vendor said. Sony Ericsson estimated its global market share at 9 per cent, and the overall 2006 handset market at 980 million units.

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