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Squeeze on Nokia earnings

Helsinki, Oct. 16 (Reuters): Nokia, the world’s biggest mobile phones maker, reported flat third-quarter earnings on Thursday as fierce competition and a weak dollar pressured handset prices. It said fourth-quarter earnings would also be lower as a result.

The Finnish company reported earnings excluding exceptional items and goodwill amortisation of €0.18 per share for the July-September period.

Nokia raised its global market outlook for 2003, saying it now expected 460 million handsets would be sold by the industry this year versus a previous estimate of around 445 million, echoing a similar increase in forecasts made on Monday by Samsung.

The firm’s result and outlook confirmed global handset demand was once again running at a steady clip, and follows a string of recent positive comments on market growth from nearest rivals Motorola, Samsung and Siemens.

But top line growth at the company’s key mobile phones unit remains under pressure, as the demand is expected to remain heavier for lower-end phones that generate less sales and profits than models with features such as built-in cameras.

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