Time is not on Nortel’s side but there’s no sense being too hasty in decid­ing whether the battered telecom equipment company should remain a standalone entity or be absorbed by another company, chief executive Mike Zafirovski said yesterday.

A 37 per cent decline in revenue and shrinking margins pushed Nortel Networks Corp. to a $507-million US loss in the first quarter, the Toronto-headquartered company said in its first financial report since seeking bankruptcy protection in January.

Zafirovski said the industry needs to consolidate but it will take one to two more months to determine whe­ther to try to go it alone as originally planned or join with another player.

Nortel’s customer base has remained loyal despite the company’s problems, he said. “What’s hurting us is that if you have brand-new projects, people are deferring many of those decisions above and beyond the economy, waiting to see what the final outcome of Nortel is going to be,” Zafirovski said.