HELSINKI – Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, on Tuesday said it may beat its fourth quarter earnings target as it benefits from a new range of Internet phones on the market this Christmas.
"The mobile phone market has developed according to company expectations, with fourth quarter volumes expected to reach 105-110 million units,'' Nokia said in its mid-quarter update.
Nokia said it expected pro forma earnings per share for the fourth quarter to be at the upper end or even above the earlier indicated range of 0.18-0.20 euros ($0.16-$0.18) compared to 0.25 euros in the same quarter of 2000 when demand for handsets reached its peak.
Nokia, which makes one-third of all mobile phones, reiterated sales would grow by 20 percent from last quarter's 7.1 billion euros but would be lower than the 9.28 billion euros posted in the fourth quarter of last year.
Shares in Nokia, which have almost doubled since September 11 on signs of resilience in a tough market, rebounded from earlier losses to trade up 3.5 percent at 28.40 euros by 1020 GMT compared to the Dow Jones Technology Index gains of 1.8 percent.
Nokia, like rivals Motorola and Ericsson has been hit by the U.S.-led global economic slowdown.
Companies have seen orders from telecoms operators canceled as they struggle with debts and consumers delay purchases of new phones until attractive services that give quick access to the Internet are widely available on the market.
Reflecting this, Nokia confirmed sales in its networks division would fall 20 percent year-on-year and handset sales, which make up most of group revenue, would be flat year-on-year.
But it said handset sales would rise 25 percent on the 5.27 billion euros in the third quarter due to a new range of phones expected to help the company regain lost market share.
``Nokia continues to expect significant market share gains in its mobile handset business this quarter,'' Nokia said in a statement.