Ericsson profits down 30pc as market shrinks

SWEDISH mobile giant Ericsson has reported a drop of almost a third in first-quarter profit with sales also dipping.

The telecom equipment market contracted sharply in 2009 as the global downturn crimped operator spending.

Its sales fell nine per cent year-on-year while operating profit, excluding joint ventures and restructuring costs, was 4.5bn Swedish crowns (£403m).

The majority of analyst forecasts are for mi imal market growth at best in 2010 and competition – especially from Chinese – is also set to remain fierce.

Chief Executive Hans Vestberg said in a statement: "The market conditions we saw in the second half of 2009 prevailed also in this quarter with mixed operator investment behaviour across regions and markets."