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Nokia's profits dive 90 per cent

Retail clear out hoses bottom line

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The world's largest maker of mobile phones, not to mention cameras, saw net profits down by 90 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to last year, though the company blamed de-stocking for some of drop.

Net profit for the first three months of 2009 came in at €122m, compared to €1.22bn during the same period last year and distinctly lower than predictions of €306m, though handset sales are only down 19 per cent. Nokia reckons some of the drop is down to shops clearing inventory and lowering stock levels.

Sales slumped 6.7 per cent overall to €9.3bn, with devices sliding further, by 33.4 per cent to €6.2bn.

Mobile phones are something of a luxury, and the high-profit models particularly so. The average selling price of a Nokia handset dropped to €65 from €71 at the end of 2008, so the handsets that are selling are the ones with slim margins.

Unsurpisingly, operating profits at the devices business were down 67 per cent to €1.9bn.

Market share remains unchanged at 37 per cent, so the figures seem to be down to an industry contracting rather than punters buying handsets from other manufacturers, and Nokia still shifted more than 93 million handsets in the period.

Looking ahead, the firm said it expected mobile device volumes to be up "slightly sequentially" at best, with full year volumes down 10 per cent on 2008. It said it expected to increase its own share of the market. ®

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