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Marconi Shares Slide Despite £20m Deal

Coventry firm Marconi has seen its share price continue to tumble, despite announcing contracts with over £20 million with Chinese firms.

Since the company based in New Century Way went onto the NASDAQ last year its share price has tumbled by two thirds. Another tortuous session this morning on the London Stock exchange saw a further 16p wiped of its value, as shares dipped below 400p.

The company, which is due to create 2,500 new jobs in Coventry over the next three years, is also expected to make a statement about its future prospects soon.

The news comes at a time when Marconi has continued to make inroads into new markets.

It has announced a wave of new contracts with provincial Chinese telecoms operators, regional utilities and a Cable Television (CATV) enterprise moving into the internet.

The contracts will play a key role in China’s plans to double the number of fixed telephone lines from 100 million to 200 million by 2003.

The country's 20 million line-per-year fixed network growth is more than the rest of Asia put together. Last year there were 25 million new mobile users in China.

The new contracts won by Marconi include four from provincial operators owned by China Unicom - the country's second largest telecoms company. They are in Shanghai, Guangdong, Anhui and Fujian.

Between them they have purchased Marconi solutions worth US$35 million.  A fifth provincial operator, Ningxia Telecom, part of China Telecom, has also opted for Marconi's Coventry-developed Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) fibre optic technology to develop its network.

Two of China's major regional utility companies, North China and North East China Electric & Power, have chosen Marconi SDH to build an inter-company connection carrying voice and data at high speed over optical fibre.

In southern China, regional cable television company Jiangmen CATV has purchased a Marconi switching solution which will create a new high-speed internet protocol network serving banks, power utilities, businesses and official organisations including customs.

Coventry-based Peter Brown, President of Marconi Communications Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia, said:

"Our latest wins are clear evidence that operators throughout China see Marconi as a major solutions-provider in a broad range of network applications, as the country continues its programme of modernising and expanding its communications infrastructure.

"They also demonstrate the success of our strategy to develop our position in China with multiple routes to market, including joint manufacturing ventures with key local players and a strong marketing and customer service presence in-country."

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CWN / Business / A-Z / Marconi / 28 Mar 01
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