Nokia hit by $832 million loss in third quarter

The mobile phone maker sees sales drop 20 percent and it suffers a big write-down on its failing communications equipment unit.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Nokia on Thursday reported a loss for its third quarter of 559 million euros ($832 million) compared with a profit of 1.09 billion euros in the same quarter of 2008.

The net loss for the period that ended September 30 was triggered by declining sales, which fell 20 percent to 9.18 billion euros from 12.2 billion euros the prior year's quarter. A write-down of the company's weak Nokia Siemens Networks unit also put a big drag on the bottom line.

Net sales for the third quarter came in at 9.8 billion euros, down 20 percent from 12.2 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Following the news, shares of Nokia stock fell 6.6 percent to 9.62 euros.

Though Nokia's mobile phone sales managed to eke out some gains, overall revenues were hurt by a shortage of components for many of its products.

"The demand for mobile devices improved in many markets during Q3," Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement. "With the average selling price of our devices holding firm quarter-on-quarter, our higher device volumes translated into increased net sales in our Devices & Services business. Our volumes and net sales were, however, somewhat constrained by component shortages we encountered across the portfolio.

The company said that its share of the mobile device market for the quarter was 38 percent, the same as in the year-earlier period and in the second quarter of 2009.

Nokia Siemens Networks, the network equipment unit formed in 2007 and co-owned by Nokia and Siemens, has struggled to turn a solid profit from the get-go. In a write-down of this failing business, Nokia was forced to spend 908 million euros.


"The challenging competitive factors and market conditions in the infrastructure and related services business necessitated non-cash impairment charges at Nokia Siemens Networks," said Kallasvuo.

Despite weakness in the mobile phone sector, Nokia is optimistic about its near-term outlook. The company now sees volume for its phones hitting 1.12 billion units for the year, down 7 percent from 2008, but better than Nokia's earlier estimate of a 10 percent decline.

Nokia expects the market for its mobile infrastructure and related services market to fall 5 percent for the year from 2008 levels, an improvement over earlier estimates of a 10 percent drop.

However, the future remains cloudy for Nokia Siemens Network, which is likely to see its market share drop even further for 2009 than previously forecast, said the company.

During the third quarter, Nokia also completed its acquisition of GPS map specialist Navteq.