Nokia profit up; sales dip with coronavirus supply issues

HELSINKI — Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia has reported improved first quarter profit but said the COVID-19 pandemic dented sales by around EUR200 million ($218 million ) mainly due to supply issues associated with disruptions in China.

The company based in Espoo, Finland, reported Thursday net profit of 33 million euros for the January-March period, in comparison to a loss of 116 million euros the previous year. Sales were down 2% at 4.9 billion euros.

CEO Rajeev Suri said Nokia didn’t see a decline in demand in the first quarter but noted that as the coronavirus situation develops “an increase in supply and delivery challenges in a number of countries is possible and some customers may re-assess their spending plans.”

Nokia is one of three main providers of the ultra-fast, new-generation 5G networks along China’s Huawei and Sweden’s Ericsson.

Suri said Nokia expected the COVID-2 impact into its operations to be largest in the second quarter, noting that “our industry is fairly resilient to the crisis, although not immune.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has made vividly clear the critical importance of connectivity to keep society functioning. We’re continuing to advance our 5G roadmap and product evolution, as planned, and our COVID-19 mitigation actions in R&D have been very successful.”

Nokia said it has now recorded 70 commercial 5G deals with 21 live networks.

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