Nokia has posted earnings for the first quarter of 2020 today. The major positives are continued 5G momentum with 70 commercial deals and 21 live networks and strong growth in Nokia software and enterprise.
Nokia has not only improved its margins in Q1 2020 but has also raked in a small profit because of this improved margin and cost reduction efforts. Here are the earning highlights.
- Non-IFRS net sales in Q1 2020 were EUR 4.9bn, compared to EUR 5.1bn in Q1 2019. Reported net sales in Q1 2020 were EUR 4.9bn, compared to EUR 5.0bn in Q1 2019. On a constant currency basis, non-IFRS net sales decreased 4% and reported net sales decreased 3%. Excluding one-time licensing net sales in Q1 2020 and Q1 2019, net sales decreased 2% on both a non-IFRS and reported basis. This reflected good operational performance and the competitiveness of our offerings, given the negative impact of COVID-19 on the overall market environment. We estimate that COVID-19 had an approximately EUR 200 million negative impact on our Q1 2020 net sales, primarily due to supply chain challenges; with these net sales expected to be shifted to future periods, rather than being lost.
- Non-IFRS diluted EPS in Q1 2020 was EUR 0.01, compared to negative EUR 0.02 in Q1 2019, primarily driven by higher gross profit in Mobile Access within Networks and Nokia Software, continued progress related to our cost savings program and a net positive fluctuation in financial income and expenses. This was partially offset by higher investments in 5G R&D to accelerate our product roadmaps and cost competitiveness in Mobile Access, income taxes and a net negative fluctuation in Nokia’s venture fund investments.
- Reported diluted EPS in Q1 2020 was negative EUR 0.02, compared to negative EUR 0.08 in Q1 2019, primarily driven by higher gross profit in Mobile Access within Networks and Nokia Software, lower amortization of acquired intangible assets and our continued progress related to our cost savings program. This was partially offset by higher investments in 5G R&D to accelerate our product roadmaps and cost competitiveness in Mobile Access, income taxes and a net negative fluctuation in Nokia’s venture fund investments.
- In Q1 2020, net cash and current financial investments (“net cash”) decreased sequentially by approximately EUR 0.4 billion, resulting in a net cash balance of approximately EUR 1.3 billion. Total cash and current financial investments (“total cash”) increased sequentially by EUR 0.3 billion, resulting in a total cash balance of approximately EUR 6.3 billion. This reflected strong cash performance in Q1 2020, which is a seasonally weak quarter. During Q1, we prudently strengthened our liquidity position by drawing on the EUR 500 million facility we had signed with European Investment Bank in 2018. Additionally, we have a EUR 1.5 billion revolving credit facility that has not been drawn upon to date, and we continue to explore prudent opportunities to further strengthen our liquidity.
Nokia’s solid first quarter results showed broad year-on-year profitability improvements as our transformation and product cost reduction efforts started to take hold. On a year-on-year basis, group-level non-IFRS operating margin was up by 3.6 percentage points; Networks gross margin increased by 3.5 percentage points; Nokia Software had an excellent quarter with sharp margin improvements and strong momentum with customers in North America; and, Nokia Enterprise delivered double-digit sales growth.
As I noted last quarter, we continue to have a sharp focus on Mobile Access and cash generation and saw good progress in both areas in the first quarter. “5G powered by ReefShark” shipments continue to increase and product cost reductions are proceeding well. We also announced some leading new solutions in the quarter, including a unique approach to dynamic spectrum sharing that is in test mode with select major customers today, and is expected to be available in volume over the summer, in line with the availability of DSS-capable mobile devices. On the services side, ongoing execution improvements drove improved year-on-year profitability. We also enhanced our total cash position to €6.3 billion, while net cash showed an expected seasonal decline to €1.3 billion.
These improvements are, of course, coming at a time of unprecedented change, given the impact of COVID-19. Our top focus areas are protecting our employees, maintaining critical network infrastructure for customers, and ensuring we have a strong cash position. In Q1, we saw a top line impact from COVID-19 issues of approximately €200 million, largely the result of supply issues associated with disruptions in China.
We are adjusting the mid-points within our previously disclosed Outlook ranges for full-year 2020 to reflect the increased risks and uncertainty presented by the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We expect the majority of this COVID-19 impact to be in Q2 and believe that our industry is fairly resilient to the crisis, although not immune.
We did not see a decline in demand in the first quarter. As the COVID-19 situation develops, however, an increase in supply and delivery challenges in a number of countries is possible and some customers may reassess their spending plans. Pleasingly, despite the majority of our R&D employees working from home, we have not seen any impact on our roadmaps, and, in fact, some key software releases are proceeding ahead of schedule. Additionally, we saw a massive increase in network capacity demands.
In close, Nokia’s vision of creating the technology to connect the world has never been more important than today. I want to thank our employees for their incredible resilience, ongoing support for each other whilst working from home, and their commitment to continued delivery of critical networks during this time. Equally, I want to thank our customers, suppliers, communities and the entire Nokia extended “family” for their ongoing support.