Nokia has posted earnings for the third quarter of 2021 today. The rise in net profit for Q3 2021 has beaten market forecast and expectations. This has made Nokia to now expect 2021 full-year profit to land at the top of its guidance range.

The highlights for the Q3 2021 are solid growth in sales, increase in operating margin and improvements in operating profit. Here are the earning highlights for Q3 2021.

Earning highlights:

  • Constant currency sales growth of 2% constrained by expected supply chain and Mobile Networks North America headwinds
  • Strong sales growth in Network Infrastructure (+6% y-o-y constant currency) and Cloud & Network Services (+12%)
  • Comparable gross margin of 40.8% (reported 40.7%), reflecting continued strong execution across the business
  • Mobile Networks comparable gross margin of 37.8% (+220 bps y-o-y) showed better cost competitiveness
  • Comparable operating margin of 11.7% (reported 9.3%), new operating model bringing strong financial accountability
  • Comparable diluted EPS of EUR 0.08; reported diluted EPS of EUR 0.06
  • Strong free cash flow generation of €0.7bn
  • Launched new FP5 IP routing silicon which sets new industry benchmarks particularly on power efficiency
  • Continuing to manage supply chain constraints but challenges are increasing into Q4
  • Reiterating our full year guidance for net sales of €21.7bn – 22.7bn and comparable operating margin of 10-12% and now expect to be towards upper-end of the margin range considering continued strong performance

CEO’s statement:

We delivered another great quarter driven by our increased investments in technology leadership and strong market demand. The highlight of the quarter was the launch of our next generation FP5 IP routing silicon – delivering up to three times more capacity while reducing power consumption by up to 75% per bit compared to previous generation. This will help reduce the carbon footprint of both Nokia and our customers, while also helping customers to manage their operating expenses.

The third quarter saw us achieve 2% constant currency net sales growth despite the impact of earlier communicated headwinds in North America for Mobile Networks and global supply chain constraints. These headwinds were offset by strong growth in Network Infrastructure against a tough year-on-year comparison and by Cloud and Network Services achieving double-digit growth. Our comparable operating margin for the quarter was 11.7%, which is a further testament to the accountability and financial discipline that our new operating model is driving through the organization.

We now have over 380 private wireless customers and the business continues to grow strongly. We are further increasing our investment to ensure we maintain the lead we have built with the industry’s most complete offering.

Overall, I am pleased with our strong financial performance in 2021 so far. We continue to expect seasonality to be less pronounced this year than previously and are reiterating our full year 2021 outlook. Considering our continued strength, we now expect to be towards the upper-end of our comparable operating margin range. As we look ahead, we believe we are well positioned to capitalize on strong demand in our end markets through strengthened technology leadership and improved cost competitiveness. However, the uncertainty around the global semiconductor market limits our visibility into Q4 and 2022. We are working closely not only with our suppliers to ensure component availability but also with our customers to ensure we can meet their needs and mitigate the unprecedented component cost inflation our industry faces. Coupled with the one-offs we’ve benefited from this year, this may limit our margin expansion potential in 2022.