SHARES IN NOKIA were sent into a tailspin yesterday, falling to their lowest level since 1997, after the Finnish phone maker warned that it would post losses in the first two quarters of this year.
The company expects to make an operating loss of around three per cent of sales in the first quarter, which it blamed on fierce competition in the smartphone market, particularly in India, the Middle East, Africa and China.
Chief executive Stephen Elop also admitted yesterday that Nokia had found a software bug in its new Lumia 900 smartphone, less than a week after launching it in the US.
The double blow sent shares crashing 17 per cent before closing down 14.5 per cent at €3.27.
Shares had already fallen more than 50 per cent since Nokia announced in February last year it was dropping its own Symbian operating software and switching to the Windows system.
Despite being the world’s biggest volume maker of mobile phones Nokia has struggled to win ground in the smartphone market against Apple and phones running Google’s Android system.
It has endured particularly poor sales in the US, where its smartphones have less than one per cent of the market.