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Nokia: OK, Q1 has been weak, but there's 'underlying' profit

Budget phone lines might yet save the day

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Nokia warned of a weaker first quarter last year and duly delivered. Sales were €5.85bn in Q1 2013 with an operating loss of €150m.

Net phone sales were down 32 per cent year on year, with 6.1 million smartphones shifted in the first three months of the year, of which 5.6 million were Lumia Windows phones.

In Q4 Nokia shifted only 4.4 million phones, a massive operations fuck-up caused by a shortage of components, which meant it was unable to capitalise on the interest generated by Windows 8 and its clever Lumia 920 phone in the Christmas buying period. The ASP per device has risen substantially over the past year as Symbian drops out of the mix.

Nokia also counted 5 million Asha full touch Series 40 phones as "smartphones".

Nokia Siemens Networks coughed up a razor-thin profit on sales of €2.8bn, 5 per cent down on last year.

So the outlook is largely unchanged. Elop has stabilised the ship and the Finnish firm sits on an impressive €10bn of cash, of which €4.5bn is net cash. The "underlying profit" boast - to which Nokia has laid claim over the past three quarters - is still a bit slim though. The company's books reflected a €181m (non-IFRS) profit for the quarter. And the market needs to move its way: Apple shipped 36 million smartphones in the quarter and Samsung over 60 million.

Nokia has only just made its budget Windows phones available in this quarter, the sub-£150 Lumia 620 and the sub-£100 Lumia 520 - so it can finally compete in emerging markets.®

Full results are here [PDF]. ®

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