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AlcaLu CFO: We're 'P*ssed'

If you're an Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) investor who's angry at the equipment vendor's ongoing financial wrangles, then the vendor's CFO, Paul Tufano, is right there with you.

Responding during Friday's third-quarter earnings conference call to questions about AlcaLu's cash flow -- the company's net cash position worsened by €244 million (US$334 million) in the three months ending in September -- Tufano admitted that performance this year had been poor. (See AlcaLu Under Pressure.)

"We are pissed" that AlcaLu isn't on track to be cash-flow positive in 2011, he stated, before CEO Ben Verwaayen stepped in to tell the largely European audience, "That's a foreign word -- it means we're not very pleased."

Tufano stated that AlcaLu would be at least break-even if not cash-flow positive in 2012, but this claim was questioned by at least one analyst, who asked why investors would believe him after this year's performance. "I understand your skepticism," stated a contrite CFO.

Verwaayen then attempted to convince his audience that it was just a matter of time before AlcaLu's balance sheet and earnings performance would improve. "We are global. We work very closely with our customers as we build our budget, which is different from when I arrived a few years ago. ... We will be less inclined to take loss-leading business that might build over time [and] we will be looking for more end-to-end business, with services contracts more linked to products."

The CEO added: "Nothing is wrong with our strategy. The issue is with the timing of our execution of the strategy. We will not change the fabric" of the current plans.

AlcaLu's share price is down 17.4 percent to $2.28 on the New York Exchange today.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

FredStein 12/5/2012 | 4:49:32 PM
re: AlcaLu CFO: We're 'P*ssed'

Great comic relief. Wish I could have been there.

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