Nortel posts $2.1 billion Q4 loss, pushes bonus plan

Nortel Networks, currently under bankruptcy protection and in the midst of broad restructuring, reported fourth-quarter earnings today that included a $2.1 billion loss fed by a $1.2 billion write-down, a major tax-related charge and a 15 percent slide in revenue. The company also reported a $5.8 billion net loss for the full year of 2008.

Revenue from both Nortel's Carrier Networks unit and its Metro Ethernet division actually improved from the third quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter, though both units saw revenue dip on a year-over-year comparison. Those units constitute two of the four business groups that Nortel's plans to move ahead with as it works to emerge from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Nortel is pushing forward with a plan to spend about $45 million on bonuses for its top 1,000 executives, in what has been described as an incentive to get them to stick with the company through the most challenging time in its history.

The Canwest News Service reported that only about $3 million in retention bonuses will be spent across the company's other 19,400 employees in North America. Nortel filed its plan with its U.S. bankruptcy court late last week, and the plan is expected to be the subject of bankruptcy court discussion in both the U.S. and Canada later this week.

For more:
- Here's the Nortel earnings press release
- Canada.com has this Canwest News Service post

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