Sunday, December 28, 2014

Nokia Results Slashed by Discontinued Operations

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) reported fourth-quarter and interim full-year fiscal 2013 results from continuing operations before markets opened Thursday. Results exclude the company’s Devices & Services (handset) division, which the firm has agreed to sell to Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) for around $7.2 billion. Including the discontinued operations, however, does not help Nokia’s story much though.

For the quarter, the mobile handset maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of €0.08 (about $0.11) on revenues of €3.5 billion (about $4.77 billion). In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.08 on revenues of $10.57 billion). Fourth-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.04 and $8.62 billion in revenues. The consensus estimates do not include the handset business as a discontinued operation.

For the full year, Nokia posted EPS of €0.21 (about $0.29) on revenues of €12.7 billion (about $17.32 billion). The consensus estimate called for EPS of $0.07 on revenues of $31.16 billion.

Fourth-quarter sales in the Devices & Services division totaled €2.6 billion (about $3.55 billion) and full-year sales from discontinued operations totaled €10.7 billion (about $14.59 billion). Added to sales from continuing operations, revenues totaled $8.32 billion for the quarter and $31.91 billion for the year. Revenues fell 29% in Nokia’s handset business.

Nokia’s largest remaining business, Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), posted fourth-quarter revenues of €3.1 billion ($4.21 billion), down 22% from the same period a year ago and up 20% sequentially. This is what caused investors to shy away from the stock in premarket trading Thursday.

The company’s chairman/interim CEO said:

During the fourth quarter, Nokia’s continuing businesses produced a healthy underlying operating margin of 12%. While the first quarter of the year is seasonally weak for our continuing operations, we continue to expect the closing of the Microsoft transaction to significantly improve Nokia’s earnings profile.

The strength of NSN’s underlying profitability highlights just how fundamentally different the company is today, compared with two years ago when it started its restructuring and transformation program. Today, we are more focused, more innovative and more disciplined. With these fundamental elements in place, we believe NSN is well-positioned to deliver solid business performance for the year ahead.

The new Nokia will be a much smaller company, with sales in the range of $17 billion to $20 billion, compared with past sales of more than $30 billion. Profitability appears to be reasonable, but the warning about a seasonally weak first quarter will not encourage many investors to bid the stock up.

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Nokia shares were down about 3.25% in premarket trading, at $7.45 in a 52-week range of $3.02 to $8.20. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $7.90 before this report. Nokia’s shares have nearly doubled since the handset division’s sale to Microsoft was announced last summer.

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