Nokia Posts Q4 Loss, Warns On Q1; Plans EUR 600 Mln Buy Back; Stock Up

RTTNews | 126 days ago
Nokia Posts Q4 Loss, Warns On Q1; Plans EUR 600 Mln Buy Back; Stock Up

(RTTNews) - Finnish network company Nokia Corp. reported Thursday a loss in its fourth quarter, compared to prior year's profit, amid weak net sales. Looking ahead, the company expects challenging environment to continue, particularly in the first quarter. Further, the Board proposed dividend authorization of 0.13 euro per share and initiated two year 600 million euros buyback program. The shares were gaining more than 7 percent in the morning trading in Paris as well as in pre-market activity on the NYSE.

Separately, Nokia said that its board has approved the new share-based long-term incentive plan and an employee share purchase plan, under which awards may be granted until December 31, 2026.

Under the Long-term Incentive Plan for 2024-2026, the company may grant eligible executives and other employees awards in the form of both performance shares and restricted shares.

Regarding its fourth quarter, Nokia said the environment remained challenging, however there are now signs of stabilization with improving order trends.

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO, said, "...we are now starting to see some green shoots on the horizon, with improving order intake for Network Infrastructure and some of the specific deals we have won. This is expected to drive a strong improvement in Network Infrastructure net sales growth in the second half of 2024 which we believe, even with a challenging first half, will drive solid growth for the full year. In Mobile Networks, we expect top line challenges in 2024... We do expect further improvement in gross margin and then in the second half we will start to see more benefits from our cost savings program."

For fiscal 2024, Nokia expects comparable operating profit of between 2.3 billion euros and 2.9 billion euros. The 2023 comparable operating profit was 2.38 billion euros.

Net sales growth in constant currency in Network Infrastructure would be 2 percent to 8 percent, while Mobile Networks sales would be down 10 percent to 15 percent. Sales in Cloud and Network Services would be between a drop of 2 percent and a gain of 3 percent.

Further, for fiscal 2026, the company projects net sales to grow faster than the market, and comparable operating margin of at least 13 percent, which was revised down recently.

Nokia still expects its previous comparable operating margin target of at least 14 percent remains achievable over the longer term.

The Board resolved to distribute a dividend of 0.03 euro per share. The dividend record date is on January 30 and the dividend will be paid on February 8.

For the fourth quarter, loss was 33 million euros, compared to prior year's profit of 3.15 billion euros.

Loss per share was 0.01 euro, compared to profit of 0.56 euro a year ago.

The latest result was impacted by an operating model change that led to non-cash remeasurement of deferred tax assets.

Comparable profit for the period was 568 million euros, compared to prior year's 929 million euros. Comparable earnings per share were 0.10 euro, compared to 0.16 euro last year.

Operating margin fell 220 basis points from last year to 9.6 percent, and comparable operating margin declined 70 basis points to 14.8 percent.

Net sales fell 23 percent to 5.71 billion euros from 7.45 billion euros a year earlier. Net sales declined 21 percent in constant currency as macroeconomic uncertainty continues to pressure operator spending.

Network Infrastructure sales fell 26 percent. Mobile Networks net sales were down 17 percent. Cloud and Network Services sales fell 8 percent, and Nokia Technologies sales plunged 63 percent.

In Finland, Nokia shares were trading at 3.37 euros, up 7.05 percent, and shares in pre-market activity on the NYSE were at $3.67, up 7.62 percent.

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