HELSINKI — Finnish telecom network equipment maker Nokia reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and underlying profits on Thursday, buoyed by new Chief Executive Officer Pekka Lundmark’s strategy revamp.
While both Nokia and its Nordic rival Ericsson have been gaining 5G customers as China’s Huawei is increasingly shunned out by several governments over security concerns, Ericsson seems to have benefited more.
Nokia said a growth in its 5G equipment sales was partially offset by decreases in its legacy radio access products. Revenue at its mainstay networks business fell 7% to 5.04 billion euros ($6.05 billion).
Apart from staying away from the fast-growing China 5G market, losing part of the Verizon 5G contract in the United States to Samsung Electronics has also hit Nokia’s growth.
“We expect 2021 to be challenging, a year of transition, with meaningful headwinds due to market share loss and price erosion in North America,” Lundmark said.
Nokia forecast 2021 revenues to fall to between 20.6 billion euros and 21.8 billion euros from 21.9 billion in 2020, while underlying operating profit margin would be 7-10%. It reached 9.7% profit margin last year.
Lundmark announced a new strategy in October, under which the company will have four business groups and said Nokia would “do whatever it takes” to take the lead in 5G.
Revenue fell 5% to 6.57 billion euros during the quarter, but beat a consensus figure of 6.42 billion euros, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.
The quarterly underlying earnings fell to 0.14 euros per share from 0.15 euros a year ago, beating the 0.11 euros consensus.
The results got a boost of about 250 million euros over timing of revenue recognition and a fluctuation in its venture fund investments.
Nokia shares have seen wild swings over the last two weeks as the stock has been targeted by the retail trading frenzy, alongside GameStop Corp and other tech companies.
($1 = 0.8331 euros)
Reporting by Tarmo Virki and Supantha Mukherjee; Additional reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Tom Hogue and Rashmi Aich; Reuters