Nokia's full fourth-quarter earnings report is still two weeks away, but the Finland-based company says its joint venture with Siemens – Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) – had a strong three-month period to end the year.
NSN has been cutting costs dramatically over the past few months, shedding 17,000 jobs – nearly a quarter of its global workforce – and selling off divisions in order to focus more on a higher margin-yielding mobile broadband strategy. It's BSS unit is being sold to Toronto-based Redknee, and a private-equity firm is snapping up its optical unit.
The company says this progress helped NSN deliver "record underlying profits and a third consecutive quarter of underlying profitability."
More specifically, NSN achieved strong performance in higher product categories and geographic regions and better-than-expected management. The joint venture's operating margin for the fourth quarter is now expected to be between 13 and 15 percent.
Nokia warns that "seasonality" could have a negative impact on 2013's first quarter, so NSN's results reported in April might not be as strong.
Meantime, Nokia's handset business appears to be headed in the right direction. The company is beaming about the first increase it's seen in smartphone shipments in a year.
The Lumia 920 and a handful of other devices based on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system are the reason why; that, and a big marketing push by both the manufacturer and the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Nokia says it shipped 4.4 million Lumias in Q4 2012, a number that was only tempered by the company's announcement that its devices and services division would still have a drop in net sales from the year-ago quarter – down from €6 billion to €3.9 billion. Its total number of device shipments – mostly feature phones – were down significantly, from 113.5 million to 86.3 million.
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