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Nokia, new CEO Rajeev Suri, and BEELLIONS of euros burning a hole in the bank

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Nokia Oyj begins a new chapter in its 149-year history today with new CEO Rajeev Suri – and a massive pile of cash in the bank.

Last week the venerable Finnish industrial combine finally cast off the mobile phones division that made Nokia a household name across the world.

What's left at Nokia today is an oddball combination of three unrelated businesses: network equipment, a maps company, and an intellectual property licensing operation.

In the first quarter of 2014, sales from the “Pure New Nokia” operation were €2.66bn ($3.68bn, £2.18bn), most of which (€2.33bn) is derived from networking equipment and associated services (revenues down 17 per cent year-on-year).

HERE maps brought in €209m (down three per cent year-on-year), and the IP division scooped €131m in revenues (up seven per cent). All three divisions in the new Nokia were profitable: networks bagged €216m in non-IFRS operating profit for the quarter (up 10 per cent year on year); HERE banked €10m (up from a €5m loss this time last year); and IP technologies grabbed €86m (up 18 per cent year on year).

By contrast, the "discontinued operations" – the phone biz – brought in €1.93bn in revenues (down 30 per cent on the year-ago quarter) and made an overall loss of €306m (it lost €73m in Q1 2013).

Not only was Nokia's phone wing's overall revenue lower this year, but it is declining faster than than that of the networks division - and unlike networks, didn't bring in any profit.

Beat that, Microsoft.

Nokia said that if the Microsoft deal had been completed within the Q1 2014 accounting period, it would have ended the quarter sitting on €10.5bn gross cash (€7.1bn net, $9.81bn, £5.82bn). Which is nice. It's using this cash pile – which is bolstered by the €5.4bn it finally received from Redmond – to hand out €3bn in dividends to shareholders, and will also spend €1.25bn buying back shares.

Nokia's new CEO Rajeev Suri was confirmed this week: he's a 20-year company veteran who previously ran the Networks mobile operation.

Nokia is today valued at €27bn ($37.3bn, £22.2bn). During the dotcom bubble it reached almost €200bn; as recently as 2008 Nokia was worth about €150bn; and until recently was viewed as a safe bet by a lot of European pension funds. ®

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