Alcatel-Lucent Sales Rise as Carriers Bolster Wireless Networks

Alcatel-Lucent SA, the network-equipment maker being taken over by Nokia Oyj, posted a 5 percent increase in second-quarter sales and said its free cash flow turned positive for the first time in that period since 2006.

Revenue rose to 3.45 billion euros ($3.79 billion), the Paris-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Analysts had predicted 3.44 billion euros on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Free cash flow was 65 million euros in the period, compared with a negative 205 million euros a year earlier.

Alcatel-Lucent agreed to be bought by Finnish rival Nokia in April in a bid to create a company able to compete with the likes of China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and Sweden’s Ericsson AB. The deal has been approved by U.S. and European Union competition watchdogs, but is still seeking a green light from Chinese and other regulators.

Alcatel-Lucent said in a separate statement that Michel Combes will step down as chief executive officer of the company effective Sept. 1 and that Chairman Philippe Camus will be interim CEO for the transition period to the takeover by Nokia.

Ericsson, the industry’s largest company, earlier this month reported second-quarter sales that topped analysts’ estimates as carriers in Asia and Europe spent more on improving their wireless networks to better accommodate the volume of data consumed by users of video and music services.

Alcatel-Lucent’s net loss narrowed to 54 million euros in the quarter from 298 million euros a year earlier.

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