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Nortel delays financial report--again

Accounting scandal continues to drag out as company once again delays reporting results for first half of 2004 and all of 2003.

Nortel Networks, which has been embroiled in an accounting scandal since the spring, has again delayed restating financial results for the first half of 2004 and all of 2003.

The announcement on Wednesday marks the third time that Nortel has pushed back releasing these results. The telecommunications equipment maker had planned to release full financial results for the first half of 2004 and for all of 2003 by the end of October. But now, Nortel said, full financial results for those two periods will be ready some time in mid-November.

In addition, the company said Wednesday that it plans to release preliminary results for the third quarter of 2004 in December.

In August, the company released unaudited results for the first half of 2004. Nortel said at the time that it expected sales of $5.1 billion. It also announced it was slashing more jobs to cut costs. In September, it tempered expectations by telling investors it expected to fall short of its $2.6 billion revenue target for the third quarter of 2004.

Nortel has been struggling with its accounting scandal since last spring. It has fired several executives including then-CEO Frank Dunn. The company is under criminal investigation in the United States and Canada.

Nortel CEO William Owens is blaming the delays on the complexity of the situation.

"I was not satisfied, given the enormous details and complexity involved, that we would be able to meet our October deadline," he said in a statement. "Although this delay is disappointing, we have made great progress toward completion, have continued to devote massive resources to the restatement effort and are confident that we are very close to the end of this critical chapter."