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As Nokia burns through cash, analysts worry

A poll of analysts conducted by Reuters reveals that they're concerned Nokia will cut through nearly 2 billion euros of cash in just three quarters, putting strain on its reserves.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Nokia has been on a cash-spending tear as of late, and most analysts believe there will be no way for the company to stop it.

Reuters today released the results of a poll it conducted with analysts on their thoughts related to Nokia's cash spending. According to the news service, analysts on average believe that Nokia will cut through 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in the next three quarters to keep its operation going. If Nokia does so, it would mean that its cash-spending rate would be accelerating: during the last five quarters, it burned through 2.1 billion euros.

Spending cash by itself is not a bad thing. However, when it's accompanied with declining revenue and in Nokia's case, dramatically reduced phone shipments, it's a huge problem. To compound issues, Nokia has two bonds outstanding, including one carrying a value of 1.25 billion euros that will mature in 2014. One analyst, Juliano Torii from Societe General, told Reuters that Nokia might even have trouble paying that off.

For its part, Nokia has acknowledged that it's facing some trouble. Last month, after announcing a $1.76 billion operating loss, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop admitted that his company has "faced greater than expected competitive challenges," but it's undergoing a "significant company transition" that could turn things around.

Still, as the analysts note, not everyone is so sure that will happen. In late April, Standard & Poor's (S&P) cut Nokia's rating to "speculative," or junk.

"We now believe that revenues from the Devices and Services division could decline in 2012 by the same extent as in 2011 (minus 18 percent) after Nokia reported first-quarter 2012 revenues below our expectations, particularly for Symbian-based smartphones," S&P said in a statement at the time.

Despite analyst concerns, Nokia's shares are trading up 5 cents today to $2.85.

Nokia declined CNET's request for comment on the Reuters report.