Nokia seeks $980m from bonds in cash conservation mission

Summary:The sinking ship of Espoo is attempting to raise close to $1 billion in cash by issuing convertible bonds to strengthen the firm's cash position.

Nokia continues to bob gently in the water as its vast vessel fills with water from underneath -- and from the massive financial thunderstorm overhead.

But in a bid to generate much-needed cash at the Finnish former phone giant, Nokia is issuing convertible bonds in order to raise €750 million ($980 million) as the firm attempts to claw back market share lost to Apple, Samsung and its other major smartphone rivals.

Nokia's cash position has fallen from €4.2 billion ($5.4bn) in June to €3.6 billion ($4.7bn) in September -- a cash burn rate of about €600,000 ($780,000) in three months. 

(To put this in perspective, equally ailing RIM -- though is seeing dim lights of recovery, had a Q1 2011 cash position of $2.2 billion but in Q2 2011 it had managed to cut costs and add another $100,000 $100 million to the cash pile, raising the figure to $2.3 billion. That said, RIM doesn't have any long-term debt unlike Nokia, and it cut 2,000 jobs already this year, but has a vast enterprise data infrastructure, making the firm look at least semi-polished for a prospective buyer.)

Because Nokia has been loss making for many quarters, the firm is running through its cash reserves. At the same time, the firm is cutting back on employees and any spare assets in a bid to slow the cash burn rate. 

But it's not going very well.

Even though the Espoo, Finland-based phone maker has cut 15,000 jobs year-on-year since Q3 earnings, Nokia must resort to issuing bonds in a bid to generate cash that it so desperately needs.

This comes on the same day that Nokia launched the low-cost Lumia 510 smartphone for the emerging markets to cover the BRIC nations -- particularly Brazil and South America, Russia and Asia, India and China.

By investing back in these markets, Nokia hopes to generate a buck or five -- something the third quarter earnings suggests the firm is still performing relatively well, though losing out to the Android rivalry and increasing uptake of the Google-owned mobile software.

Topics: Nokia, Microsoft, Smartphones, Tech Industry

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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