Nokia lowers sales forecast for 2001

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, has lowered its forecast for worldwide handset shipments in 2001.

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, has lowered its forecast for worldwide handset shipments in 2001.

The company now expects to sell about 380m mobile phones this year - an adjustment from its previous forecast of 390m, which was published in October together with its third-quarter results.

A record 413m mobile phone handsets were sold worldwide in 2000, according to research firm Gartner Dataquest.

"It is unusual to see Nokia changing figures in such a short time," said Ben Wood, a senior analyst at Dataquest. "We've said that if the normal holiday sales jump isn't realised, it would be difficult to reach a target of 400m."

Nokia does not anticipate significant growth in the US economy until the end of 2002, said chief executive Jorma Ollila.

In Europe, the company's predictions are equally grim. "I don't think there's going to be any good news in Europe in the next nine months," said Ollila. "Europe will follow the US economy, with some delay."

Looking beyond Christmas, Nokia predicted that sales will pick up in 2002, with up to 440m handsets sold worldwide. This represents year-on-year market volume growth of between 10% and 15%. Double-digit annual volume growth should continue from 2002, said Nokia.

Wood backed the company's forecasts, saying that the industry will see a stable growth curve instead of jumps and falls. The number of handsets sold worldwide rose from 283m in 1999 to 413m in 2000. Dataquest now expects a 10% drop year-on-year for 2001.

"We are headed for a more stable growth curve, between 10% and 15%. The year 2001 is reflecting the phenomenal growth in 2000," Wood said.

Nokia repeated its long-term goal of gaining a 40% share of the handset market. The company held a 33.4% share in the third quarter of 2001, according to Dataquest.

Nokia said it expects 15% in revenue growth for both its handset and mobile infrastructure divisions for the full year 2002. The company also reiterated that it expects the number of mobile phone subscribers to hit one billion in the first half of next year, adding that 3G handsets should make up roughly 10% of handset sales in 2003.

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