The French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent said Tuesday that it no longer expects to post a stronger operating margin this year, as it unveiled a third-quarter operating loss.
"In light of year-to-date performance and the difficult macro-economic environment, Alcatel-Lucent will not be able to achieve its previously announced adjusted operating margin guidance for the full-year 2012," a statement said.
Shares in the company plummeted by 15.17 percent to 0.962 euro in early trades on the Paris stock exchange, their lowest level in more than two decades according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The CAC index of leading French stocks was 0.54 percent higher overall.
The group had initially said that its adjusted operating margin this year would surpass the 2011 figure of 610 million euros ($750 million).
But the company added that "based on the current order book, Alcatel-Lucent expects the second half of 2012 to be better than the first half."
It posted a provisional second-quarter adjusted operating loss of around 40 million euros, compared with a profit of 108 million euros in the same period a year earlier.
Sales in the period fell to 3.5 billion euros from 3.9 billion.
Full details of the second quarter exercise and annual targets are to be published on July 26.
In 2011, the group recorded its first profit since Alcatel and Lucent merged six years ago, but its shares have lost almost 60 percent of their value over the past 12 months.
Chinese rival ZTE Corp issued a similar profit warning on Monday, saying that first-half profit was likely to drop by 60-80 percent from the same period a year earlier.