Monday, 22 October, 2018


Nokia +11% on licensing boost ahead of 5G rollout

Rajeev Suri Nokia's President and Chief Executive Rajeev Suri Charles Platiau Reuters
Melba Vasquez | 02 February, 2018, 00:34

Earlier, Nokia posted better-than-expected quarterly profits and forecast a recovery in profits by 2020, encouraging investors spooked past year by a weakening equipment market and acquisition integration missteps.

Though that figure was boosted by a one-off patent payment of €220mn from Huawei, there was a 2% net sales growth in Networks and a huge 79% year-on-year net sales increase in Technologies, the division which focusses on advanced tech in both consumer and business sectors.

Despite the good results, Nokia's network business profit has fallen a staggering 25% year-on-year (from $1,064 billion to $802,28 million).

On the other hand, the networks business fared less well in a competitive environment where the company's market share is expected to decline further this year, according to the Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri's comments in the company's press release.

For 2019-2020, the company expects a strong improvement in the network equipment market and said it's committed to growing its dividend, also in 2018.

While network sales will remain weak during 2018, a potential rebound of spending by operators in North America could lessen the decline, he said.

"We see some positive signs coming from our North American customers", Suri said.

Suri said Nokia's stepped-up capital spending to win future 5G upgrade deals will weigh on the network unit's profitability this year. Full-scale 5G rollouts should improve market conditions "markedly" for 2019 and 2020. He forecast an operating margin of 6-9% for 2018 before it starts to rebound to around 9-12% in 2020.

Nokia's Board of Directors will propose a dividend of 0.19 euros per share for 2017, compared to 0.17 euros per share paid in 2016. The latest-quarter result was adversely affected by approximately 0.13 euros per share due to re-measurement of deferred tax assets following the change in tax rates, primarily in the United States. Patents have become an important part of Nokia's business since it transitioned away from handset manufacturing.

Nokia sold the handset business to Microsoft in 2014, but previous year brought its name back to the smartphone market with a brand-licensing deal.

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