Nokia forecasts profit growth, warns on sales

Nokia the world's largest mobile telephone manufacturer, on Thursday forecasted continued earnings growth for the first quarter of 2001 but lowered its previous sales expectations.

Pointing to the weakening telecommunications sector and the softening US economy, the Finland-based company lowered its total sales growth estimate to 20 percent for the quarter, compared to its earlier estimate of 25 percent to 30 percent, Nokia said in a statement.

Nokia estimated earnings per share of 0.19 euros (US$0.17) for Q1, the same as its earlier estimates.

In its last quarterly report, Nokia reported a net profit of 1.2 billion euros, or 0.25 euros per share, for the fourth quarter of 2000, an increase of 41 percent over the same quarter the previous year. Anticipating that the slowdown in the mobile phone market will last throughout 2001, Nokia predicted that the entire mobile phone market will sell between 450 and 500 million units in 2001, less than the 500 million to 550 million previously anticipated, the company said.

While Nokia announced that its profits are slowing down, the company's main competitors Motorola and L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. have both issued profit warnings in the last month.Nokia shares (NOK1V.HEL), trading on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, were up after the announcement, trading at 27.30 euros per share, an increase of 2.75 euros per share or 11.2 percent, according to the EuropeanInvestor.com Web site.

Nokia's full first quarter results will be announced on April 20, the company said.

Nokia in Espoo, Finland is at +358-9-5113-8193, or at http://www.nokia.com/.

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