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Nokia’s Q4 2023 Earnings Report .. 7% increase by announcing a $653 million share buyback program

Nokia’s Q4 2023 Earnings Report .. 7% increase by announcing a $653 million share buyback program

In a move aimed at boosting investor confidence, Nokia, one of the world’s largest mobile network equipment manufacturers, has revealed its plans to initiate a significant share buyback program. The announcement comes in the wake of the company’s Q4 2023 earnings report, which showcased a steep decline in profit and highlighted the challenging business environment faced by Nokia in recent times.


Declining Profit and Industry Challenges


Nokia’s Q4 2023 earnings report revealed a 23% year-on-year decline in net sales, amounting to 5.7 billion euros. The comparable operating profit also experienced a significant setback, falling 27% to 846 million euros. The company attributed these disappointing results to a shift in customer behavior influenced by the macro-economic environment, high interest rates, and customer inventory digestion.


Impact of Telecommunications Industry Trends


The telecommunications industry has played a pivotal role in Nokia’s recent struggles, as operators have scaled back their spending on network infrastructure. Furthermore, the slowdown in investments in India, which had been a significant area of growth for the company, has further compounded its challenges. Sales in Nokia’s largest division, Mobile Networks, witnessed a 17% year-on-year decline to 2.5 billion euros during the last quarter.


AT&T Deal and its Consequences


Nokia’s fortunes were dealt a significant blow when U.S. mobile carrier AT&T chose to sign a deal with Nokia’s rival, Ericsson, for the construction of a new type of 5G network in the United States. This decision heavily favored Ericsson and resulted in a 25% decrease in Nokia’s shares over the past year. Nokia’s CEO, Pekka Lundmark, expressed disappointment with the development, asserting that it did not reflect Nokia’s technological competitiveness.


Share Buyback Program


To alleviate concerns among shareholders and signal confidence in the company’s future prospects, Nokia has announced a share buyback program. The two-year initiative, amounting to 600 million euros ($653 million), is set to commence in the current quarter. The buyback program aims to enhance shareholder value by repurchasing Nokia’s own shares from the market. This move indicates Nokia’s belief in its long-term growth potential and its commitment to returning value to its investors.


2024 Outlook and Adjusted Operating Margin Target


Looking ahead, Nokia anticipates continued challenges in 2024, with the company’s CEO acknowledging the impact of a more normalized pace of investment in India and the AT&T decision on the top line. However, Nokia remains optimistic about its ability to achieve its long-term goals. The company forecasts a comparable operating profit of between 2.3 billion euros and 2.9 billion euros in 2024, while analysts expect operating income to reach approximately 2.4 billion euros based on consensus estimates.

In response to the current market conditions in Mobile Networks, Nokia has adjusted its comparable operating margin target to at least 13% to be achieved by 2026, down from the previous target of at least 14%. This revision reflects the company’s prudent approach in light of the challenges faced in the industry.


Industry-wide Challenges


Nokia’s Q4 2023 earnings report aligns with the struggles faced by its competitor, Ericsson, which reported a decline in sales and operating profit for the same period. Ericsson also highlighted the impact of customers reducing spending and a slowdown in investments in India. These challenges indicate a broader trend in the telecommunications industry and emphasize the need for companies to adapt to evolving market dynamics.

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