Nokia to cut 1,700 jobs in sinking phone market

HELSINKI Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:53am EDT

1 of 2. Nokia staff at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 19, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Oyj will slash 1,700 jobs globally over the coming few months because of falling demand, the world's top cellphone maker said on Tuesday.

Nokia said in January it aimed to cut annual costs at its key handset unit alone by more than 700 million euros ($909.3 million) to counter the plunging demand.

Nokia said on Tuesday that, in addition to its handset unit, it would also cut jobs in its marketing unit, corporate development office and global support functions.

Up to 700 jobs would be cut in Finland.

The overall cellphone market is expected to contract by about 10 percent this year, hurt as consumers rein in spending and handset sellers try to clear out unsold phones.

"The first quarter will be weak, then it will improve a little," said Nordea analyst Martti Larjo. "Some component suppliers have signaled slight improvement."

Nokia is expected to report January-March earnings per share (EPS) falling to 0.08 euros, the weakest level since the third quarter of 2001, when all vendors in total sold just 94 million phones -- less than Nokia alone is seen selling this quarter.

Nokia said it was continuing to seek savings in operational expenses, looking at all areas and activities.

Last month Nokia said it was offering severance packages to the first 1,000 employees who volunteered to leave, and cut production at its key Salo plant in Finland.

By 0947 GMT, shares in Nokia were 3.5 percent lower at 8.68 euros, underperforming a 2 percent fall on the DJ Stoxx European Technology Index.

Earlier on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs cut Nokia EPS forecasts for 2009 and 2010 due to weaker demand, a lower smartphone market share and greater margin impact from a strong yen.

Goldman said it now expects market volumes to shrink 14 percent this year and increase only 5 percent next year. It had earlier forecast a 10 percent fall for 2009 and 10 percent growth next year. (Additional reporting by Brett Young; Editing by Andrew Macdonald)

($1=.7698 Euro)

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