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Nokia shares slide to 15-year low


Investor confidence in the Finnish phone maker is depleting

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Shares in Nokia have fallen below €1.50 for the first time since 1996, in a sign that investor fears are growing over the future of the Finnish mobile phone maker.

Shares were trading at €1.49 (£1.18) on the London Stock Exchange this morning, down more than 3 percent from Friday and 66 percent from the same time a year ago.

The news comes after Nokia reported a net loss of €929 million (£754 million) in April, compared with a net profit of €344 million a year earlier.

The company now plans to lay off 10,000 workers by the end of 2013 and cut annual operating costs by an additional €1.6 billion, on top of the already achieved annualised run rate saving of approximately €700 million at the end of first quarter 2012.

The company will sell its luxury phone maker Vertu and boost investments in feature phones and smartphones based on the Windows Phone operating system. It will reduce certain R&D projects and consolidate its manufacturing operations, resulting in the closure of several facilities

Nokia also plans to invest in its location-based platform as a way of differentiating its Lumia smartphones with services such as navigation and visual search applications such as the recently announced Nokia City Lens.

“We are obviously a company in transition and our recent financial results have reflected that,” said Nokia spokesperson James Etheridge in an email to Techworld.

“There is a lot of hard work going on here that is not yet visible in our results, particularly around the speed of product development, which has picked up substantially, and the quality of the final products themselves.

“At the most simple level, our success will depend on delivering great products which consumers love so that is where our focus is. We’re continuing to work flat out in that respect.”

Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight, said the moves by Nokia showed the company is finally facing up to reality.

“The size of its business needs to reflect the market opportunity the company has today, and that is very different from Nokia in its heydey,” he said.

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