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Nokia maintains spot as mobile top dog

Bounds along in spite of profit dips

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Nokia has consolidated its position as the world's leading mobile phone maker and announced a 20 per cent rise in net sales during its fiscal third quarter.

The Finnish giant said on Thursday that sales rose to €10.1bn from €8.4bn in the same three month period a year ago.

However, the company reported a four per cent fall in net earnings from €881m in 2005 to €845m, which it attributed to restructuring costs.

The mobile phone maker announced earnings per share of €0.21, up slightly from €0.20 a year earlier, but below analysts' average expectations of €0.22.

According to Nokia's latest figures, it sold 88.5m devices during its fiscal third quarter, up 13 per cent compared to the preceding quarter and a rise of 33 per cent versus the same three month period a year ago.

The company said the average selling price of a Nokia handset fell to €93 in the third quarter compared to €102 last year.

Looking ahead, the company expects industry mobile device volumes in the fourth quarter to grow by 15 per cent or more, sequentially.

Nokia grabs 35 per cent mobile market share.

Meanwhile, a new report from Strategy Analytics, which was also released on Thursday, revealed that the Finnish-based firm has maintained its top spot on the worldwide vendor table, clocking up its highest market share level for three years with 35 per cent.

According to the latest figures, an all-time record 256 million mobile phones were shipped worldwide during the third quarter of 2006, up 22 per cent compared to the same three month period last year.

Nokia saw its fortunes rise on the back of soaring demand for entry-tier devices in emerging markets. It shipped over 242 million mobile devices in the first three quarters of 2006 and is expected to surpass a record 240 million shipments for the full-year.

Strategy Analytics reports mixed blessings for Motorola, however. The research firm's study indicates that "Razr mania" would seem to have peaked with the company losing its crown as the fasting-growing mobile maker for the first time since the first quarter of 2005. The US-based mobile manufacturer grew shipments at a healthy 39 per cent annual rate during the third quarter. It currently has 21 per cent market share, up from 18.4 per cent a year ago.

Samsung is the third leading vendor in terms of market share at 12 per cent. During the third quarter, its share rose one per cent sequentially. However, compared to the same three-month period last year, the firm's market share fell by 0.8 per cent.

High demand for the Walkman and CyberShot ranges helped Sony Ericsson to a growth rate of 43 per cent annually. Moreover, as well as becoming the fastest-growing manufacturer, Sony Ericsson saw its market share rise from 6.6 per cent for the third quarter of 2005 to 7.6 per cent for the third quarter of 2006.

LG fared less well with its market share slipping one per cent versus the preceding quarter; it registered just six per cent annual growth, its slowest rate since Strategy Analytics' records began.

The research firm estimates that 716 million units were shipped during the first three quarters of 2006, a rise of 25 per cent year-on-year. In addition, it is maintaining its forecast of one billion mobile shipments for the full year 2006, up 22 per cent versus 2005.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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