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Nokia sales and profits dive in fourth quarter

Finnish giant feels the chill

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Nokia's fourth quarter results show the world's biggest phone manufacturer's operating profit dropping more than 50 per cent to €1.2bn.

Sales at the Finnish giant slipped 19.5 per cent to €12.7bn, as the firm dealt with a declining worldwide economy where getting a new phone is increasingly taking second place to finding a new job.

The firm's shareholders will feel some of the pain, with the board proposing cutting the dividend to €0.40 compared to €.43 last year.

The company reckons 2009 isn't going to be a good year, with an expected ten per cent decline in sales, most of which will come during the first half of the year. However, the company expects to retain its market share.

Nokia reckons the industry shipped 305m phones in the last three months of 2008, 113.1 million of which of were Nokia devices - reducing the Finnish giant's market share to 37 per cent of a total market that was down nine per cent on 2007 (pdf).

Figures aren't quite so grim for the whole of 2008, with net sales down by slightly less than one per cent to €50.7bn, and operating profit down 8 per cent to €1.2bn. But then the economy wasn't so grim early in 2008.

Operating cash flow for the final quarter of 2008 was hit by a one-off payment of €1.7bn to Qualcomm; settling the long-running licence dispute between the two companies but making overall flow negative by €0.3bn.®

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