President and CEO Börje Ekholm speaking to Ericsson shareholders on Monday said the global pandemic has not affected his company.
“So far, we have not seen any material impact on our business, but we are closely following the developments in society,” Ekholm said. “Our top priority at the moment is the health and safety of our employees, customers, and other stakeholders.”
Ekholm told stakeholders 2019 was a strong year for Ericsson. For the first time since 2013, the company reported organic growth and improved gross margin and operating margin compared to 2018. The CEO said they have “a robust balance sheet” with net cash of SEK 34 billion (U.S.$3.4 billion) at the end of last year. “This allows us to continue to invest, execute on our strategy and also provides resilience.”
“Right now we have 86 commercial 5G agreements and 27 live networks in four continents. Ericsson is leading the 5G development. I see no one in front of us,” he said. “Last year we talked about switching on 5G globally. Today, we can say that we have succeeded. The world’s first 5G network was launched with Ericsson’s technology and the same was true for the first network in Europe.”
Ekholm said Ericsson is leading the development of this new technology with a patent portfolio consisting of more than 54,000 granted patents. He claimed this represented the leading share of relevant 5G patents, “which bodes very well for the future,” he said.