Sony Ericsson has set itself a target of breaking into the top three mobile phone rankings after having posted a record set of annual results earlier today.
Camera phones and music-enabled handsets drove growth in 2006, the company said in releasing its annual figures. The Swedish-Japanese mobile phone maker reported 60pc year-on-year volume and sales growth, as well as a rise of 144pc in pre-tax profits.
The company made €10.9bn, double the worldwide rate of growth in the market and pre-tax profits were €1.2bn. Of the 74.8 million units sold last year, 60 million were music-enabled handsets and 17 million were Walkman-brand phones, Sony Ericsson said.
Just over a third of the units sold last year, 26 million in all, were shipped in the last quarter of 2006. This was a 61pc increase compared to the same period last year. Sony Ericsson said this generated “significant” year-on-year market share gains.
Growth was particularly strong in emerging markets in Latin America and Asia Pacific, as well as in Europe, the company said.
The total worldwide handset market was around 980 million units in 2006, according to Sony Ericsson estimates. This number is higher than previous forecasts for the year. On this basis, the company claimed to have outperformed the market during the quarter, gaining around 1pc of market share to achieve a global market share of approximately 9pc during the fourth quarter, behind Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.
Miles Flint, president of Sony Ericsson, called 2006 a “strong year” and referred to the “soaring popularity” of the company’s imaging and music phones. “Earlier investments in research and development and marketing have enabled us to expand the portfolio and strengthen the brand to increase consumer and operator appeal. Our target is to become one of the top three players in the industry and the momentum we established in 2006 makes this an achievable ambition,” he said.
According to some reports, Sony Ericsson is also mulling over the possibility of launching a Walkman phone priced at under €100.
By Gordon Smith
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