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Sony Ericsson Triples 4Q Net Profit, Sees Record Sales Volumes

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said Wednesday its net profit more than tripled in the fourth quarter, as record sales of its high-end handsets helped it gain market shares.

The company said net profit came in at 447 million euros($579 million) in the three months ending Dec. 31, 2006, up from 144 million euros for the same period in 2005.

Sales volumes of Sony Ericsson's handsets soared 61% to 26 million units thanks to a continued high demand for its music and camera brands Walkman and Cyber-Shot, the company said.

Total sales came in at 3.78 billion euros ($4.9 billion), up 64% from 2005, as its closely watched average selling price per handset was higher than expected because of the strong demand for its high-end phones, the company said.

"The fourth quarter saw Sony Ericsson finish a strong year with record volumes, sales and net income due to the soaring popularity of our imaging and music phones," Sony Ericsson President Miles Flint said.

The London-based company, a joint venture of Japan's Sony Corp. and Sweden's LM Ericsson, said it gained market shares of about 2% globally for the quarter, to about 9% of the total market, with especially strong growth in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

"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," Flint said.