Bullish Ericsson raises its sales forecast

Ahead of its capital markets day, kit vendor Ericsson has announced it now hopes to bring in 10% more cash in 2020 than it previously did.

The company had recently set its sales target for 2020 at SEK 190-200 billion, but thanks to a more bullish outlook for its networking division, as well as the inclusion of revenue from Red Bee Media and a favourable currency adjustment, Ericsson is now aiming for SEK 210-220 billion. The overall operating margin target of 10% in the mid term and 12% in the longer term remains.

“With our focused strategy we have created a strong foundation of stability and profitability,” said Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm (pictured). “Our strengthened portfolio and competitive cost structure have enabled us to grow in the third quarter 2018, for the first time since 2014, on a constant currency basis, despite headwind from exited contracts and businesses. As the industry moves to 5G and IoT we are now preparing to take the next step to generate profitable growth in a selective and disciplined way.”

Here are the revised sales and margin targets by business segment.

SEK b. Networks Digital Services Managed Services Emerging Business and Other Group
2020 Net sales ambition 141 – 145(128 – 134) 41 – 43 23 – 25 5 – 7 210 – 220
2020 Operating margins 15% – 17% Low single digit 5% – 8%(4% – 6%) Break-even(current business)  >10%
Operating margin by 2022, at the latest 15% – 17% 10% – 12% 8% – 10% -  >12%

The target increase for Networks is down to a more optimistic view of the underlying market, the anticipation of some market share gains and diversification into ‘adjacent markets’, which presumably means selling networking gear to industries other than telecoms. The aim for Digital Services is just to break even, while automation and AI are expected to improve the margin at Managed Services.