Nokia sells 8.8 million Lumias, but sales flat despite US spike

Nokia's latest set of results are a mixed bag – flat sales but better profit, overall volumes down, but smartphones on the rise.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

Nokia has published what could be its last sets of financials as a mobile phone maker, revealing a spike in demand for its Lumia smartphone range amid otherwise uninspiring results.

The results, published on Tuesday, show Nokia shifted 8.8 million Lumias in the third quarter of this year, up 40 percent year on year and nearly 20 percent quarter on quarter. It's the most amount of Windows Phones Nokia has managed to sell in a quarter to date.

Nokia put the increase in smartphone shipments down to its "recently broadened Lumia product range and strong customer demand, particularly for the Lumia 520". The 520 has proved one of the more popular Lumias since its release earlier this year, thanks to its affordability.  

However, its mobile phones unit — which looks after its lower end, non-Windows Phones device portfolio, reported handset sales down 27 percent year on year, at 55.8 million, roughly 10 percent of which were Asha touchscreen devices. However, sales were up slightly on the previous quarter, with a rise of four percent compared to Q2.

Total device volumes were down year on year in all markets, bar one — the US. While Europe, Latin America, China, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa all registered declines of 20 or 30 percent in devices sold year on year, North America saw a marked increase – a rise of 367 percent year on year. However, volumes were still small — 1.4 million Nokia Lumia devices were sold in the region in Q3, compared to 300,000 a year ago.

There may be a bit of a comeback in some regions, though, with Europe and Asia Pacific, along with the US, showing a quarter on quarter rise in overall device sales.

Nokia reported total sales of €5.7bn for the quarter, down 22 percent year on year and flat compared to the second quarter of this year. Its Q3 operating profit came in at €118m, compared to a €564m loss a year ago. Among the more interesting items revealed by the results was a €50m profit from the sale of its stake in mapping company Waze, which was acquired by Google for $1bn earlier this year.

In November, Nokia shareholders will vote on the future of the company, and whether to accept a €5.4bn offer from Microsoft to acquire its devices and services business. According to the results published today, Nokia has already racked up €18m in charges relating to the proposed sale.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, which means sales of Nokia's recently-revealed phablets and tablet will most likely appear on Microsoft's balance sheet, rather than Nokia's.

If the deal goes through, Nokia will be made of three businesses: its Here mapping business, networking subsidiary NSN and its Advanced Technologies unit.

"Nokia's board of directors is conducting a strategy evaluation for Nokia Group between signing and closing of the transaction. This evaluation will comprise of evaluations of strategies for each of Nokia's three businesses and possible synergies between them," Nokia said.

Over the third quarter, Here's sales were down 20 percent year on year at €211m, which Nokia attributed to factors including currency fluctuations and lower sales of sat-navs. Operating profit however was €14m, up from a €56m loss a year ago.

NSN's sales meanwhile fell 26 percent year on year to €2.6bn, which Nokia put partially down to "due to divestments of businesses not consistent with its strategic focus as well as the exiting of certain customer contracts and countries". Operating profit fell from €183m a year ago to €166m in the third quarter of this year.

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