Nokia to cut up to 14,000 jobs after 69% profit plunge

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Nokia on Thursday said it would cut up to 14,000 jobs as part of a cost reduction plan following a plunge in third-quarter earnings.

The Finnish telecommunications giant said that it will reduce its cost base and increase operation efficiency to “address the challenging market environment.”

It is targeting to lower its cost base on a gross basis from 2023 by between 800 million euros ($842.5 billion) and 1.2 billion euros by the end of 2026.

This will reduce the number of employees currently from 86,000 to between 72,000 and 77,000.

The substantial layoffs come after Nokia reported third-quarter net sales declined 20% year-on-year to 4.98 billion euros. Profit over the period plunged by 69% year-on-year to 133 million euros.

Earlier this year, Nokia’s rival Ericsson announced plans to lay of 8,500 employees, also as part of a cost cutting plan.

One of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment makers, Nokia has been facing headwinds from a slowing global economy and from infrastructure spending reductions made by mobile operators.

Sales from Nokia’s biggest unit by revenue, its mobile networks business, declined 24% year-on-year to 2.16 billion euros, with operating profit for the division diving 64% year-on-year.

Nokia said this was mainly driven by declines in North America. The company also described sale volumes in key market India as “moderated,” as 5G deployments “normalize.” 5G is next-generation mobile internet that promises faster speeds, and Nokia is part of India’s rollout of the technology.

Cost cutting measures have also taken place in the U.S. this year, particularly with carriers such as Verizon and AT&T.

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Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark said in a Thursday statement that the decline in mobile networks revenue was owed to “some moderation in the pace of 5G deployment in India which meant the growth there was no longer enough to offset the slowdown in North America.”

The company still expects full-year net sales in a range between 23.2 billion euros and 24.6 billion euros, sticking to its forecast.

“I remain confident in the fundamental drivers of our business,” Lundmark said.

“Data traffic growth continues, the 5G rollout is still only around 25% complete, excluding China, and networks will continued investment. Cloud computing and AI revolutions will not happen without significant investment in networks that have vastly improved capabilities.”

Nokia’s numbers come after Sweden’s Ericsson released third-quarter results on Wednesday, which showed a decline in revenue and similar issues in North America.

Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm warned in a Wednesday statement that the “underlying uncertainty impacting” its mobile networks business will persist into 2024, casting doubt over a recovery for telecommunications equipment makers.