Nokia posts profit as Lumia overtakes Symbian

Nokia sees profit in the fourth quarter as Lumia posts 4.4m sales

24 Jan 2013

Finally some good news for Nokia: the struggling smartphone maker has squeaked out a profit of €439m in the fourth quarter of 2012, after shipping 4.4m Lumia handsets.

The company also said it reached "underlying" profit for the year - meaning it would have been profitable for 2012 were it not for special charges, including restructuring costs.

The results come as the company ramps up Lumia sales. Nokia shipped 4.4m of the Windows Phone smartphones in Q4, overtaking Symbian's 2.2m. Last quarter, Nokia shipped 2.9m Lumias and 3.4m Symbian devices.

Its Asha line of low-end smartphones, targeted at emerging markets, was even more successful, shipping 9.3m.

Europe had the best revenue for Nokia's devices and services arm, bringing in €1.2bn over the quarter, but North America was the only regional segment to post on-year growth - and it was a whopping 270% to €196m.

Nokia shipped a total 86.3m smartphones and mobile phones. The US was again the only area to post on-year growth, increasing from 500,000 devices to 700,000 in the fourth quarter.

"On a year-on-year basis, the increases in North America net sales and volumes were primarily due to our Smart Devices business unit, most notably higher net sales and volumes of our Lumia devices," the company said.

Financial execution

For Q4, Nokia posted €8bn revenue, down 20% from the same quarter last year, and €439m profit, compared to a loss last year.

For the full year, it posted €30.2bn in revenue, down 22% from 2011, and lost €2.3bn - but that includes special charges of €2.4bn.

"We are very encouraged that our team’s execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results," said CEO Stephen Elop. "Most notably we are pleased that Nokia Group reached underlying operating profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2012."

"We remain focused on moving through our transition, which includes continuing to improve our product competitiveness, accelerate the way we operate and manage our costs effectively."

To help keep its cash reserves strong - Nokia ended 2012 with €4.4bn in the bank - the company failed to issue a dividend to investors for the first time in 143 years.

Nokia expects to lose money on devices next quarter, predicting an operating margin of -2% on mobile phones and smartphones, pinning the blame on the normally weak Q1, expected slower demand for Lumia and Asha smartphones, and the economy.

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