( dpa ) - Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said Thursday it increased its sales in fourth-quarter 2007 and had a 40 per cent share of the global handset market.
Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said 2007 was "a good year for Nokia" at a news conference after the results were released.
Kallasvuo also issued an apology over the "very painful decision" to close down a plant in Bochum, Germany impacting some 2,300 employees as production was to move to Cluj, Romania.
The decision has generated angry reactions in Germany, and Kallasvuo said he did not rule out that Nokia "in the short-term will face negative consequences" adding that management wanted to discuss a "solution" with workers and German authorities.
The Finnish-based group said its net profits in the fourth quarter reached 1.83 billion euros (2.67 billion dollars), up 44 per cent on the corresponding business period in 2006.
Fourth quarter turnover reached 15.7 billion euros, up 34 per cent on the same period 2006.
In third-quarter 2007, Nokia's share of the world market of handsets was on 39 per cent, compared with 36 per cent in fourth- quarter 2006.
Sales of mobile phones increased by 20 per cent year-on-year to 133.5 million units for the fourth quarter.
For full-year 2007, net profit increased to 7.2 billion euros compared to 4.3 billion euros for full-year 2006, Nokia said, adding that turnover for 2007 increased 24 per cent to 51 billion euros.
In its outlook, Nokia said it expected the global handset market in the first quarter 2008 to "decline sequentially, reflecting normal industry seasonality."
Nokia's overall share was estimated to remain at the same level. The global handset market in 2008 was expected to grow 10 per cent.
Last year, Nokia estimated the global handset market at 1.14 billion units.
Other trends included lower average selling prices attributed to the "increasing impact of the emerging markets and competitive factors in general," Nokia said.
The group said it sold 37 million units in Europe, 34 million units in Asia-Pacific and 20.2 million units in China.
Kallasvuo highlighted strong sales in Africa saying the continent was "getting the social, economic benefits" of mobile communications.
Sales dropped however in North America and South America, but Kallasvuo said he was hopeful for 2008 in North America.
Nokia said the average selling price of its mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2007 was 82 euros, down from 89 euros in the fourth quarter 2006 but up from 82 euros in third quarter 2007.
The 50-50 joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks - launched in April between Nokia and Germany's Siemens - increased its turnover but posted a 1.3-billion-euros operating loss for full-year 2007.
The Nokia share price rose 12 per cent early afternoon after the report was released.