Nokia sees lower Q1 sales, better profitability

Nokia Corp., the world's largest mobile phone maker, expects to easily meet or exceed its own pro forma earnings per diluted share forecast for the current first quarter, even though sales are slower than expected, the company said Tuesday.

A more profitable operation in the first months of 2002 is what is pushing the pro forma earnings per diluted share to the top end or even slightly above the earlier predicted €0.15 (25 cents) to €0.17 (28 cents) range for the first quarter, the Espoo, Finland-based company said in a statement.

Nokia expects company-wide sales in the first quarter ending March 31 to be down slightly more than 10 percent compared with the first three months of last year, due to worse than expected performance in the mobile phone network business. The company earlier predicted a year-on-year drop in sales of between 6 percent and 10 percent.

Earlier this year, at the presentation of its annual results, Nokia said that although first-quarter sales are expected to lower than last year, both the infrastructure and mobile-phone operations are anticipated to show full-year growth of about 15 percent. The company at the time forecasted low double-digit growth in the second quarter, accelerating to between 25 percent and 35 percent in the fourth quarter.

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