In four of the past six years, from 2001 to and including 2006, Nortel has posted a loss. Over that time, the losses have soared past $30 billion. The years that made a profit accounted for less than $200 million. Out of the four quarters for 2007, Nortel posted losses in three, including a whopping $844 million for Q4, announced today. All told, the Toronto-based maker of telecom equipment lost more than a billion dollars for 2007 on a quarterly basis.
In each year since disaster struck the company to reveal management scandals, accounting irregularities and a woefully myopic board, Nortel, when not announcing restatements in its financial figures (it’s had four) announced more job cuts. Worldwide at Nortel, close to 60,000 people have been laid off, fired or have taken retirement since 2000, according to Information Week. Each time, job losses and layoffs were trumpeted as part of the great strategy for what CEO Mike Zafirovski now calls “our transformation.”
But you have to wonder what’s going to happen when Nortel runs out of jobs to cut. Will they try to lay off workers at other companies in order to look good? Stranger things have happened at Nortel, not the least of which is the infinite patience investors have shown for a company that always promises paradise in the abstract but generally delivers disappointment in the quarter.