& cplSiteName &

Alcatel-Lucent Secures €1.6B Lifeline

Ray Le Maistre
12/14/2012
50%
50%

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has secured credit facilities to the value of €1.615 billion (US$2.11 billion) that are underwritten by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs & Co. , providing the vendor with greater financial security and giving its share price a boost.

The cash pool will help fund the vendor's recently announced restructuring plans, dubbed the Performance Program, which involves cutting about 5,500 jobs and focusing on certain markets and product lines. (See Alcatel-Lucent Unveils Revamp, Alcatel-Lucent Sharpens Its Focus, AlcaLu Job Cuts to Hit 5,500 and Pressure's On in Paris.)

CEO Ben Verwaayen expects the Performance Program to cut annual costs by €1.25 billion ($1.64 billion) by the end of 2013, but, in the short term, implementing that program is going to eat up a lot of cash.

Now that the company has access to more immediate financial reserves, investors appear to feel happier that Verwaayen and his team can rebuild the vendor and become operationally profitable again. Alcatel-Lucent's share price was up by 10 percent to €0.94 on the Paris exchange early Friday morning, though that still only gives the company a market capitalization of €2.17 billion ($2.84 billion).

Naturally, the CEO is painting a positive picture following the credit agreements. "We will take advantage of the flexibility provided by this new financing in order to aggressively look at all options to drive long-term sustainable profitability, enhance our strategic positioning and improve our balance sheet," stated Verwaayen in the company's official statement.

The credit facilities are due to be secured by "among other things, the intellectual property portfolio of Alcatel-Lucent," the company noted. The vendor has identified its patent pool as an asset that can generate cash flow and has been attempting to find a way to cash in on its intellectual property during the past year. (See AlcaLu CEO 'Not Selling the Family Silver'.)

In an effort to maximize its patent value potential, Alcatel-Lucent recently created a dedicated Intellectual Property business unit headed up by experienced lawyer Craig Thompson. (See Euronews: AlcaLu Looks to Profit from Patents.)

Alcatel-Lucent remains confident that it can improve its fortunes during the next few years. In announcing the credit facilities, the vendor noted that it had provided its lenders financial forecasts that include a 2015 gross margin target between 35 percent and 37 percent and an adjusted operating margin between 6 percent and 9 percent, significantly better than the 27.9 percent gross margin and adjusted operating loss the vendor managed in the third quarter of this year. (See Margin Misery for Alcatel-Lucent.)

Some financial analysts are skeptical that AlcaLu can achieve its targets. See this Reuters article for commentary that questions the credibility of the vendor's forecasts.

Why this matters
While this is an important step for the company, it's still only one brick in a very large wall that Verwaayen has to build if AlcaLu is to be one of the communications systems sector's survivors and not, as some in the industry have suggested, become "the next Nortel." (See The Decline & Fall of Nortel Networks.)

The CEO needs to quickly determine which assets are worth retaining, which markets it can afford to exit and whether the company's human resources are compatible with the market AlcaLu will be targeting in the coming years.

He also needs to sort out once and for all how the vendor is going to manage its patent portfolio. During the past year the management has been talking up the value of the vendor's intellectual property but has so far failed to identify the optimum strategy for realizing its potential value. Now Verwaayen, CFO Paul Tufano and new recruit Thompson need to put a workable plan into action (and fast) to help ensure the company's viability and reputation.

AlcaLu needed to do all that anyway, but the new credit lines at least give it access to some of the cash needed to put any plans into action.

If Verwaayen acts quickly and decisively, the company could realize some tangible gains within the next year, if the experience of Nokia Networks is anything to go by. NSN secured fresh funding to bankroll the major restructuring program it announced in late 2011 and now appears to be improving its margins and gaining market share in its target sectors. (See NSN Boasts LTE Market Share, NSN Boasts RAN Market Share Growth, APAC Boosts NSN's Q3, Analysts: NSN Focus Makes Sense and NSN Gets $1.36B & New Leader.)

However, NSN's cuts have been deeper than those proposed by AlcaLu, and it's quite possible Verwaayen will either have to announce further cost reduction actions if he is to get anywhere near the financial targets provide to the lenders. (See NSN Could Lose More Than 17,000 Staff and Alcatel-Lucent: Too Little, Too Late?)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TeliaSonera: Striving for Independence

2|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Peter Lagergren discusses the importance of decoupling the network from services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Ken Wang on U-vMOS

2|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Ken Wang discusses how video will take of the traffic on carrier networks and become a basic service to provide to end users.
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials
Iain Morris, News Editor, 2/12/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Andreessen Facepalms on Facebook Free Basics
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/10/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.