Mobile phone giant Sony Ericsson almost tripled its net profits in 2006 to reach record levels on the back of strong sales, as the group said it aimed to break into the top three mobile phone makers.
Sony Ericsson posted a net profit of 997 million euros (1.28 billion dollars) last year, up 185 percent from 350 million in 2005, it said Wednesday.
Sales jumped by 50.8 percent to 10.9 billion euros, up from 7.26 billion a year earlier, while the number of handsets delivered rose from 51.2 million to 74.8 million.
In the fourth quarter alone, Sony Ericsson's net profit more than tripled, up 210.4 percent to 447 million euros from 144 million.
Sales for the period exceeded analysts' average forecasts of 3.26 billion, rising by 63.72 percent to 3.78 billion owing to strong sales in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
"The fourth quarter saw Sony Ericsson finish a strong year with record volumes, sales and net income due to the soaring popularity of our imaging and music phones," Sony Ericsson president Miles Flint said in a statement.
Pre-tax profit rose by 153.5 percent to 1.29 billion for the full-year, and by 143.6 percent to 502 million for the fourth quarter.
Sony Ericsson, which is not listed, said its market share grew by two percentage points during the fourth quarter to nine percent from the same period last year.
The rise was due to "the continued success of products such as the K800/K790 Cyber-shot phone and Walkman phone line-up", the company said.
"Our goal is to become one of the top three players in the industry, and the momentum we established in 2006 makes this an achievable ambition," Flint said.
Sony Ericsson is a joint venture between the world's leading manufacturer of mobile phone networks, Ericsson of Sweden, and Sony, the Japanese electronics giant.