Telecommunications equipment maker Lucent Technologies Inc. reported Wednesday that profit dropped 69 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter because of fewer tax benefits and higher expenses.

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NEWARK, N.J. — Telecommunications equipment maker Lucent Technologies Inc. reported Wednesday that profit dropped 69 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter because of fewer tax benefits and higher expenses.

The company also recorded its second consecutive profitable year, following three years of losses.

Chairman and Chief Executive Patricia Russo said the company has firmly established itself “as a leader in the race for next-generation networks.”

Lucent earned $374 million, or 8 cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, down from $1.21 billion, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

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The latest quarter included a gain of about $107 million, or 2 cents per share, mainly from income-tax items, compared with a gain of $1 billion, or about 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding nonoperating items such as tax benefits, Murray Hill-based Lucent said it would have earned 6 cents per share, up from 4 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue grew 1 percent to $2.43 billion a year ago.

Sales growth was partly offset by higher operating expenses of $776 million, up from $691 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 5 cents per share on sales of $2.46 billion.

For the fiscal year, Lucent’s profit slid to $1.19 billion, or 24 cents per share, from $2.01 billion, or 42 cents per share. Revenue rose 4 percent to $9.44 billion from $9.05 billion.

The company said fiscal 2006 sales will increase by a percentage in the mid-single digits. Analysts foresee 2006 sales growing 6 percent to $10.03 billion.

Lucent shares fell 2 cents, or 0.64 percent, to $3.09 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have traded in a 52-week range of $2.35 to $4.16.