Nokia reports steep quarterly profit decline

Nokia’s first-quarter group earnings before interest and taxes fell 30 percent from a year ago to €239 million. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Nokia reports steep quarterly profit decline

HELSINKI: Network equipment maker Nokia on Thursday posted weaker-than-expected quarterly profits as telecom operators, particularly in North America, held off spending, but it expressed confidence that momentum was building later in 2018.
The Finnish company, which competes with Sweden’s Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, both of China, said the battered network industry was poised to bounce back as commercial deployments for next-generation 5G networks would start to take off later this year.
“We see strong momentum building for the full year despite a slow start in networks... We have clear visibility to 5G deals for large-scale commercial rollouts in United States in the second half of the year,” CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.
First-quarter group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell 30 percent from a year ago to €239 million, clearly below analysts’ average forecast of €369 million in a Reuters poll.
Most of the profit was generated by the company’s profitable patent licensing business, which grew 136 percent.
Nokia said it expected the global networks industry to fall 1-3 percent this year, a slight improvement from its previous forecast of a fall of 2-4 percent, and added its own sales would outperform the wider telecom equipment market.


China denies setting target to cut US trade surplus

Updated 24 min 22 sec ago
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China denies setting target to cut US trade surplus

BEIJING: China said Thursday it has not set a target to cut its trade surplus with the US but will seek to increase imports after the two sides stepped back from a potential trade war.
Officials from Beijing were reported to have offered to slash the country’s huge surplus by $200 billion during high-level talks last week — meeting a key Washington demand — by ramping up imports from the US.
That was followed on Monday by President Donald Trump tweeting that China will buy “massive amounts” of additional American agriculture products.
But commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng denied that any figure was set during negotiations in Washington, which ended with the two countries agreeing to back off imposing tit-for-tat tariffs, though few details were revealed.
“China did not make any commitment on the specific amount of reduction of trade surplus with the US,” Gao told a regular news briefing.
“China will actively encourage companies to increase imports of US commodities and services according to market principles” and its own economic and consumption needs, Gao said.
“The two sides are willing to further strengthen cooperation in fields including agricultural products, energy, medical treatment, high-tech industry and finance.”
Both sides have extended olive branches since the weekend, with China announcing on Tuesday that it will cut auto import tariffs from July 1.
And Trump said his administration could impose a new fine of as much as $1.3 billion on embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE to replace crippling sanctions imposed last month that threatened to put the firm out of business.
However, there are concerns about Sunday’s agreement after Trump said he was “not satisfied” with it.