Ericsson beats forecasts, but China drags

Ericsson beat forecasts in the fourth quarter, helped by booming demand for 5G network gear.

That saw adjusted profit climb to almost $1.3 billion, while cash flow hit record levels.

The Swedish firm is benefiting as countries around the world roll out next generation networks.

Its sales grew in Europe, North America and Latin America, despite competition from a resurgent Nokia.

But China remains a drag.

Once a big player there, Ericsson has been largely frozen out following Sweden's ban on Huawei.

The firm says revenue there will probably drop for at least one more quarter.

Ericsson's next set of earnings will also take a hit from a court battle with Apple.

It's wrangling with the U.S. giant over royalty payments for the use of 5G technology in iPhones.

That's likely to knock a big chunk off its revenues from patents.

Acquisitions remain on the agenda, however.

Ericsson has recently spent more than $7 billion buying two companies, and it says there is more M&A activity to come.

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