Nokia Continues Struggle in Q1
Nokia’s troubles continue to mount, as the company today reported a $1.7 billion loss even on $9 billion in revenue and robust sales of its new Lumia line of high-end smartphones.
Nokia's loss includes $1.01 billion associated with the restructuring of Nokia Siemens Networks, $13 million in restructuring charges in Location & Commerce and a $119 million restructuring charge in Devices & Services.
Nokia finished the quarter with $6.3 billion in available cash, down 24 percent from a year ago.
The company blamed a year-on-year decline in net sales of Smart Devices – 11.3 million units in the first quarter – on significantly lower Symbian volumes. In the same quarter last year, Nokia sold 24.3 million smart devices.
Average selling price (ASP) for smart devices was down from $191 on the year-ago quarter to $187, which was driven primarily by price erosion due to the competitive environment and a higher proportion of sales of lower priced Symbian devices. Sequentially, ASP rose slightly, which Nokia attributed to a positive mix shift towards the sales of Nokia Lumia devices.
Today’s earnings come on a stream of troubling news from the Finnish OEM. Just last week, Nokia lowered its non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margin in the first-quarter 2012 to negative 3 percent, compared to the previously expected range of “around breakeven,” with a range of above or below approximately 2 percentage points.
Nokia’s stock fell nearly 15 percent on its revised forecast.
That warning was followed this week by a downgrade of Nokia's debt to near junk status by Moody’s rating agency, which cited a sharp decline in first-quarter cell phone sales that led to a 35 percent fall in revenue.
CEO Stephen Elop continues to frame the company’s woes as part of its transition to Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in the face of “greater than expected competitive challenges.”
To its credit, Nokia has launched a total of four well-received Lumia devices ahead of schedule. Elop said that the company had exceeded expectations in markets including the United States, but noted that establishing momentum in the U.K. has been more challenging.
At the same time, Nokia’s bread-and-butter segment, the low-end feature phone, is slowly shifting to consumer preference for cheap low-end touch-based phones. Nokia says it is taking deliberate measures to renew its Series 40 platform and has plans to strengthen its line-up in Q2 2012.
Shares of Nokia were down almost 3 percent in early morning trading to $3.86 per share.