Ericsson’s outgoing CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg has reaffirmed the Swedish vendor’s commitment to Sony Ericsson, its loss-making handset joint venture with Japan’s Sony. In an interview with Reuters, Svanberg said that Ericsson is willing to arrange bank financing to support the venture rather than it rely on contributions from its parent companies. “The first thing you do as a company is not to run to your shareholders and ask for more money. The first thing you do is try to arrange normal financing,” Svanberg said, adding that lending conditions have improved from six months ago. However, he said that Ericsson remained committed to providing financing for the JV if necessary and would not “leave them in the cold if they end up in that situation.” Sony Ericsson’s share of the global handset market has sunk to around 5 percent, but Svanberg said the unit remains an important part of Ericsson’s overall mobile strategy. However, he declined to forecast when the loss-making unit would return to profitability and said there was no timeframe in place for when the unit would move into the black.

Elsewhere in his interview, Svanberg said that mobile operators appear to have stopped cutting spending on network equipment, suggesting a recovery in the market was imminent. “The whole world is suffering from decline that is bigger than anything we’ve seen… [but] it is not our impression that there is further cutting being made,” he said. Svanberg, who will leave Ericsson to become chairman of UK energy giant BP in January, was in San Jose for the opening ceremony of the company’s new IP and Broadband business division headquarters, the company’s only product group based outside of Sweden. Ericsson’s standing in the North American market has strengthened significantly this year following its managed services deal with Sprint Nextel and its acquisition of key mobile assets from bankrupt Canadian equipment maker Nortel Networks. Svanberg said he expected the Nortel deal to close “very soon.”