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Nokia Siemens in talks to sell off its business unit

Network equipment maker's CEO tells reporters that the joint venture is looking to unload noncore units to focus on mobile network equipment.

Nokia Siemens Networks is in talks with various companies to sell of its business support systems as the network equipment maker looks to unload noncore units and focus on mobile network equipment.

The company -- a joint venture of Finnish handset maker Nokia and Germany's Siemens formed in 2007 -- is also looking to sell its applications business, Nokia Siemens CEO Rajeev Suri told reporters today, according to a Wall Street Journal account.

"Overall, we have about six divestments that have already taken place," Suri said. These businesses "are either not core to our mobile broadband or we see that the profitability is not where we want it to be."

Suri declined to identify the companies that Nokia Siemens was in talks with. The business unit helps telecommunications companies manage their billing and charging systems.

The company has struggled for profits in the face of the economic downturn and increasing competition. To improve profitability, the company has begun selling off noncore business units and laying off about a quarter of its workforce.

So far, the joint venture has sold off a unit that provides network equipment for wired networks and exited the market for WiMax, a wireless technology that has struggled to gain as much traction among carriers as 4G LTE.

Suri told reporters that the restructuring was about six months ahead of schedule and that the company has been generating cash for the past three quarters, a trend Suri expects to be sustainable despite what is expected to be another flat year.

"We've taken out significant amount of headcount already, we're on track in the business line divestiture as well," Suri said, according to a Reuters account. "As I said, we have a couple more (divestments) to go, but we're on track there as well."