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Handset-free Nokia returns to profit in Q1

Finnish telecom company Nokia said on Tuesday it returned to profit in the first quarter, despite falling revenue, just days after officially handing over its mobile division to US giant Microsoft.

HELSINKI: Finnish telecom company Nokia said on Tuesday it returned to profit in the first quarter, despite falling revenue, just days after officially handing over its mobile division to US giant Microsoft.

Net profit for the first three months of 2014 was 108 million euros (US$150 million).

After completing the sale of its handset business last Friday for 5.44 billion euros, Nokia will focus on telecommunications networks and geolocation systems, which in the same period of 2013 reported losses of 98 million euros.

Revenue in the first quarter of 2014 dropped by 15 per cent compared to a year earlier to 2.664 billion euros, slightly under the expectations of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, who had forecast 2.85 billion.

The telecommunications networks division Nokia Networks (formerly known as NSN) accounts for almost 90 per cent of the new company's revenue.

Sales were down in the strategic regions of Europe (10 per cent) and Asia-Pacific (12 per cent), but leaped by 34 per cent in China, the only country to register a rise.

On the day the company published its first-quarter results, it also announced the appointment of 46-year-old India-born Rajeev Suri, former head of NSN, as the new chief executive.

"I believe Rajeev is the right person to lead Nokia forward, and that his passion for technology will help ensure that Nokia continues to deliver technologies that have a positive impact on people's lives," Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa said in a statement.

In 2012, Nokia lost the mobile phone world throne to South Korean Samsung in a global battle which began when US giant Apple revolutionised the business with its iPhone in 2007.

The handset division, included in the report as discontinued operations, suffered losses for 326 million euros in the first quarter, compared to 120 million a year earlier, while its revenue fell by 30 per cent to 1.92 billion euros.

Nokia's share was up by 7.39 per cent in midday trading on the Helsinki stock exchange, where the overall index was 2.57 higher.

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