Nokia reports lower quarterly figures amid recession fears

Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, Thursday reported lower sales and a sharp drop in operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2008, reported dpa.

The Finnish-based company said operating profit plunged 80 per cent to 492 million euros (635 million dollars), compared to 2.49 billion euros for the corresponding business period in 2007.

Fourth-quarter sales fell 19 per cent year-on-year to 12.7 billion euros, the group said.

"In recent weeks, the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated rapidly," Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement.

Kallasvuo cited "even weaker consumer confidence, unprecedented currency volatility and credit tightness continuing to impact the mobile communications industry,"

Nokia was "taking action to reduce overall costs," he added.

The group sold 113.1 million units, down 15 per cent year-on-year and down 4 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2007.

For full-year 2008, the group's operating profit declined 37 per cent to 4.96 billion euros while sales were basically flat at 50.7 billion euros.

Nokia estimated its share of the global mobile phone market to be 37 per cent in the quarter, compared to 38 per cent in the third quarter of 2008 and 40 per cent in the fourth quarter 2007.

In its outlook, Nokia said it expected the global mobile handset market to decline by 10 per cent compared to 2008.

The group said it sold 34.7 million units in Europe, down 6.7 per cent while in Asia and the Pacific region sales dropped 12 per cent to 29.9 million units. In China sales fell 36 per cent to 12.9 million units while sales dipped 22 per cent to 18.2 million units in the Middle East and Africa.

Sales in Latin America were flat at 13.3 million units, while they fell 19.6 per cent to 4.1 million units in North America.

Other trends included lower average selling prices for its handsets.

Nokia said the average selling price of its mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2008 was 71 euros, down from 72 euros in the third quarter 2008, and 83 euros in fourth-quarter 2007.

Net sales for the 50-50 joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks - launched 2007 between Nokia and Germany's Siemens - declined 5 per cent to 4.3 billion euros, year-on-year. Compared to third-quarter 2008 it fell 24 per cent.

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