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Lucent delivers upside surprise in 3Q

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) hurdled Wall Street estimates Tuesday with third quarter earnings of $829 million, or 26 cents a share, excluding charges. Wall Street was expecting earnings of 23 cents a share, according to First Call.

Revenue jumped 22 percent to $9.3 billion, compared to $7.6 billion a year-ago.

In the third quarter a year ago, Lucent reported earnings of $518 million or 17 cents a share, excluding charges.

Lucent's quarter included results from the Ascend Communications acquisition, which closed in June. Including a $79 million one-time charge related to the Ascend merger, Lucent reported earnings of 24 cents a share.

Ascend contributed $543 million to Lucent's top line, excluding sales to Lucent of $82 million that were eliminated because of the merger.

Lucent reported strong sales with both established and emerging service providers and across geographic regions. Lucent posted year-over-year revenue growth of 48 percent in the quarter outside the U.S. In 1999, Lucent's revenue abroad has increased 51 percent.

In the quarter, the networking concern announced about $9 billion in new business, including major broadband wins in June and July with Level 3 Communications, Telefonica, Telstra and Frontier Communications. The Frontier win was announced earlier Tuesday.

Across Lucent's product lines, systems for network operators revenue jumped 27 percent $6.09 billion. Results were driven by sales of wireless systems, data networking systems for service providers, optical networking systems, switching systems, communications software and services.

Business communications services, which target enterprises, had revenue of $2.1 billion, up 4 percent from a year ago. Lucent's chip business also performed well, with sales jumping 23 percent to $902 million. Lucent makes chips for broadband and wireless applications. Other business contributed $223 million in sales.

Gross margin for the quarter improved to 48.1 percent from 46.5 percent a year ago.

Lucent's primary competition is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which also reported strong results recently.