By Maximilian Clarke

A 65% surge in Xperia smartphone sales has not been sufficient to stem losses at Sony Ericsson, who today announced a full-year loss of €247 million (£206m).

Across the range, phone sales dropped by 1million compared to 2010’s 6.2million which, coupled with a 1% drop in profit margins due to increased competition, saw revenue plunge.

“Our fourth quarter results reflected intense competition, unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and the effects of a natural disaster in Thailand this quarter,” commented Bert Nordberg, Sony Ericsson’s CEO. “We are aligning our business to drive profitability and to meet customer needs. In spite of these challenges, throughout 2011 we’ve shifted our business from feature phones to smartphones, and our Android-based smartphone sales in the quarter increased by 65% year-on-year. The Xperia portfolio, including the recently announced Xperia NXT series, will serve as a cornerstone of our smartphone lineup in 2012.”

Units shipped during the quarter were 9 million, a 20% decrease year-on-year and a 5% decrease compared to last quarter. The year-on-year and sequential declines reflect a significantly lower number of feature phones shipped, partially offset by an increase in smartphone shipments. Sony Ericsson has shipped 28 million Xperia smartphones to date.

Average selling price (ASP) for the quarter was Euro 143, up 5% year-on-year but down 14% sequentially. The year-on-year increase is due to the shift to smartphones and geographic mix. The sequential decrease in ASP is attributed to geographic and product mix, including declining prices of products launched earlier in the year, and the absence of new products introduced in the fourth quarter.

Sales for the quarter were approximately Euro 1.3 billion, down 16% year-on-year and 19% quarter over quarter. The year-on-year decline reflects the decrease of feature phone sales which was only partially offset by an increase in smartphone sales. The sequential decline is due to geographic and product mix, resulting in lower sales of both smartphones and feature phones. Fourth quarter sales were negatively impacted by macroeconomic challenges in advanced economies contributing to weaker holiday sales, and certain component shortages from the flooding in Thailand in late October and early November 2011. Xperia smartphones accounted for approximately 80% of total sales in the fourth quarter.

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