Nokia profit matches expectations; dividend to resume

Wireless and fixed-network equipment maker Nokia reported fourth-quarter profits Thursday in line with analyst expectations and said it will resume paying a dividend and launch a share-buyback program because of its improved financial situation.

The Espoo, Finland-based company reported of 727 million euros ($821 million) for the October-December period, compared with 787 million euros a year earlier.

Nokia's sales were down 2%, to 6.4 billion euros.

CEO Pekka Lundmark, who has vowed to make Nokia the world leader in 5G, the new generation of broadband technology, said last year was strong for the company and that its main mobile networks unit "largely closed the gap to competition in 5G."

"Nokia enters 2022 in a strong position with improved margins, faster than expected strategy execution and a high order backlog, although the global supply chain situation remains tight," Lundmark said in a statement, adding that "we see opportunities in the 5G rollout and growing enterprise market."

Nokia is in a tight race in the 5G market with Ericsson of Sweden, China's Huawei and South Korea's Samsung, among others.

Lundmark started as Nokia's CEO in August 2020 and has since shuffled the business and operations strategy of a company that has played catchup to Huawei and Ericsson in the 5G business.

"The progress we have made with cash generation in the business has strengthened our balance sheet to the point we can look to reinstate shareholder distributions through both a dividend and share buyback program," Lundmark said.

Nokia is proposing 0.08 dividend per share for 2021 and a share buyback of up to 600 million euros.

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