Beleaguered phone maker Nokia this morning published its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, reporting a $584 million (439 million euros) operating profit on $10.7 billion in net sales (8.041 billion euros).
This compared to a $754 million (576 million euro) operating loss on $9.49 billion in net sales (7.239 billion euros) in the previous quarter.
Overall, the Finnish company sold 6.6 million smartphones (15.9 million if you count Asha sales), down from 19.6 million (66 percent) last year. Feature phone volumes were up 4 percent quarter-on-quarter but down 15 percent year-on-year to reach 79.6 million units, Nokia said.
Asha smartphones performed significantly better than Nokia’s Lumia range with sales of 9.3 million units. Symbian is all but dead, with just 2.2 million smartphones sold in the quarter.
The company ended Q4 with gross cash of 9.9 billion euros ($13.2 billion) and net cash of 4.4 billion euros ($5.86 billion), which is up from of 8.8 billion euros ($11.7 billion) and net cash of 3.4 billion euros ($4.53 billion) in the third quarter respectively.
Nokia has also said that it will not make a dividend payment to investors for 2012 (for the first time in at least 143 years), helping it “ensure strategic flexibility,” and further solidify its “strong liquidity position.”
Earlier in the month, the mobile maker shared preliminary results, noting ‘Smart Device’ net sales of approximately 1.2 billion euros ($1.57 billion), with total volumes of 6.6 million units. Of those sales, Nokia said that 4.4 million units were Lumia smartphones.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, commenting on the results, said:
We are very encouraged that our team’s execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results.
Most notably we are pleased that Nokia Group reached underlying operating profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2012. While the first half of 2012 was difficult for Nokia Group, in Q4 2012 we strengthened our financial position, improved our underlying operating margin in Devices & Services, introduced the HERE brand to expand our mapping and location experiences, and drove record profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks.
We remain focused on moving through our transition, which includes continuing to improve our product competitiveness, accelerate the way we operate and manage our costs effectively.
All of these efforts are aimed at improving our financial performance and delivering more value to our shareholders.
Nokia has slowly begun to turnaround its business since it announced its dramatic strategy overall in June 2012, when it declared it would lay off up to 10,000 employees (as a number of executives stepped down), sold off its luxury phone brand Vertu and said more focus would be placed on improving its smartphone business.
Part of Nokia’s ongoing restructuring saw the company sell its Espoo headquarters to Finnish company Exilion in a deal worth €170 million, leasing the property back from the company as it attempted to further reduce costs.
More recently, Nokia announced that as part of an overhaul of its IT operations, it would cut 300 jobs globally and outsource up to 820 jobs to two Indian consultancy firms — HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services. However, the company did state that those changes will be the “last anticipated reductions.”
Today’s results show Nokia has partly weathered the storm, returning to operating profitability as the company pushes its location and Nokia Siemens businesses.
While smartphone sales are just 7.6% of Apple’s total iPhone sales in its last fiscal quarter, Nokia is set to announce new Lumia devices — including a full PureView-equipped Windows Phone handset — at this year’s Mobile World Congress, assisting the company in its fight to take smartphone sales away from Apple, Samsung and its other rivals.