What a difference a year can make. Nokia (NOK) on Thursday reported its results for the fourth quarter of 2012, beating Wall Street’s estimates and swinging back to a profit after a string of billion-dollar quarterly losses capped off six consecutive quarters in the red. The Finnish smartphone vendor posted an operating profit of roughly $585 million that was hit by an impairment charge in its Location and Commerce division and other charges. Net profit came in at $270 million using Thursday’s exchange rate — a massive improvement over the $1.2 billion loss Nokia reported for the same period a year earlier. Analysts were expecting a $200 million loss in the holiday quarter.
Revenue in the fourth quarter slid to $10.73 billion from more than $13 billion in the same quarter last year, but Lumia phone sales climbed to 4.4 million as Nokia reported earlier this month. That figure includes just 700,000 Lumia smartphones sold in North America despite massive marketing efforts focused on the Lumia 920 and huge subsidies at the U.S.’s top smartphone carrier, AT&T (T).
“We are very encouraged that our team’s execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results,” Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said. “Most notably we are pleased that Nokia Group reached underlying operating profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2012. While the first half of 2012 was difficult for Nokia Group, in Q4 2012 we strengthened our financial position, improved our underlying operating margin in Devices & Services, introduced the HERE brand to expand our mapping and location experiences, and drove record profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks.”
The executive continued, “We remain focused on moving through our transition, which includes continuing to improve our product competitiveness, accelerate the way we operate and manage our costs effectively. All of these efforts are aimed at improving our financial performance and delivering more value to our shareholders.”