Nokia losses grow as sales plunge again

 

Nokia has reported its third quarter net loss widened further to €969 million (£787 million) with a 19% plunge in revenue, as it struggles against the dominance of Samsung and the iPhone in the tough smartphone market.

Net sales dropped to €7.2bn (£5.85bn), and Nokia gave a grim outlook for the rest of the year as it prepares for this autumn's launch of Microsoft's new phone software, Windows Phone 8.

The Finnish firm said sales of its flagship Lumia phones - its first Windows-based devices launched a year ago - dropped to 2.9 million units from four million in the previous quarter.

It acknowledged it expects no quick gains from the new Windows launch, warning that the current three-month period would be "challenging ... with a lower-than-normal benefit from seasonality in volumes."

Nokia also failed to say when and where the new Lumia 920 and 820 will be launched, except that it will be in "selective" markets during the current quarter.

Investors, some of which had been expecting a bigger drop in sales, pushed Nokia's share price up more than 10 % during the day, but the gains did not last. The shares closed at 2.22 euro - up only 1% - on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.

In 2011, the third-quarter net loss was of €68 million (£55m) on revenues of 8.9 billion euro (£7.23bn). While this year's loss was deeper than analysts' forecast for a 610 million euro (£495m) shortfall, sales beat expectations of €6.99bn (£5.68bn) .

Analyst Hannu Rauhala from Pohjola bank in Helsinki said Nokia's performance had been a mild surprise.

"The worst fears are over ... and Nokia's network operations were clearly better than expected," he said.

The company said its feature phones had shown strong sales on the previous quarter and Nokia Siemens Networks - its former lossmaking joint venture with Germany's Siemens AG - had seen 3% revenue growth in the period with an operating profit of €182m (£148m).

But the slide in Nokia's smartphone sector continued in the third quarter when revenue dropped more than 50% year-on-year to €976m (£793m), with volumes plunging more than 60% to 6.3 million. In the second quarter Nokia sold 10 million smartphones.

AP

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