Optical/IP Networks

Nortel Nears Filing Deadline

Nortel Networks Ltd. has waited until the last minute to file fourth-quarter earnings, and at least one brokerage firm is telling investors not to panic.

By law Nortel has 60 days from the end of the fourth quarter to file its 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) , and March 1st is the last day of that period.

Nortel reported its third-quarter earnings only 38 days after the close of the quarter. But a lot has happened since then. CFO Peter Currie has stepped down, and the company has announced a sweeping "business transformation plan" that will eliminate 2,900 jobs globally during 2007 and 2008. (See Nortel CFO Leaves (Again) and Nortel Reports Q3.)

Not to worry, Citigroup analyst Michael Genovese says. "We believe Nortel will file the document and hold a fourth quarter 2006 earnings call either this afternoon or more likely tomorrow," he wrote in a brief released Wednesday morning.

On February 7, Nortel pre-announced that fourth-quarter 2006 revenues would be $3.26 billion, well above analyst expectations. Nortel said its quarterly income was driven by strong sales of CDMA/EV-DO infrastructure. (See Nortel's $2B CDMA Bump.)

Nortel said at the time it expects to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2006 results "in the second half of February" and would file its 10-K at the same time. Genovese expects Nortel's first-quarter guidance to be a bit soft. "Investors should keep in mind that the first quarter is typically seasonally weak for Nortel and first quarter revenues could be down 15 percent to 18 percent sequentially."

Things will begin looking up for Nortel in the second quarter, Genovese says, with a 10 percent jump in revenues over the first quarter.

Genovese maintains his Buy rating on Nortel stock.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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