Nokia on road to recovery as Lumia sales finally pick up

NOKIA showed early signs of putting its recent troubles behind it yesterday, as it announced that sales of its Lumia smartphones had been better than expected in the months leading up to Christmas.

The Finnish company has posted repeated billion-dollar losses in recent months as it has failed to attract customers buying iPhones and Samsung handsets in their droves. But a recently revamped lineup of high-end phones, as well as impressive sales of cheap handsets in emerging markets, pushed Nokia to an underlying profit in the fourth quarter of the year.

Significantly for Nokia’s long-term prospects, sales of its Lumia range – the high-margin smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone software – increased from 2.9m in the previous quarter to 4.4m.

This led the firm to estimate that margins in the period were between zero and two per cent, far better than the minus six per cent previously forecast. Sales of its Asha phones, which are aimed at emerging markets, were 50 per cent up on the previous quarter at 9.3m.

The news sent Nokia shares in New York up more than 18 per cent to highs not seen since last April.

“We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14m Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently,” Nokia’s Canadian chief executive Stephen Elop, who was made boss in 2011, said.