Struggling Marconi posts £5.1bn loss for half year

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The Independent Online

Struggling telecommunications company Marconi PLC lost £5.1 billion in the six months ending Sept. 30, the company said on Tuesday.

Executives insisted they believed the company could survive, and said banks had been supportive.

Marconi shares were down 4.8 percent to 29.6 pence (43 cents) in early trading on the London Stock Exchange.

The company's pretax los compared to a loss of £66 million in the comparable period a year earlier.

Sales fell from £3.19 billion to £2.58 billion in the first half of this year.

Net losses were £5.08 billion compared to £145 million in the same period a year ago.

Marconi chairman Derek Bonham said the figures were in line with warnings published by the company in September and October.

"Facing up to the reality is an important part of getting the business on to the right approach so that we face up to the problems and begin to tackle them in a methodical way," Bonham said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"We are in discussion with the banks, they have been very supportive and they know that we extend the facilities, but we are working closely with them and we are taking them into our confidence and the relationships are beginning to work much better than they have been in the past," he said.

Marconi cut its work force by 7,000 during the six months ending Sept. 30, to a new total of 49,000 worldwide.