Mobile Earnings Digest
By Carlo Longino, Thu Oct 16 19:15:00 GMT 2003

A number of mobile companies released earnings this week, with some mixed results, though things seem to be looking up.

Motorola surprised investors early in the week when it reported net profits of USD 116 million, double what was expected. The company said the rise was due to strong mobile-phone orders, but some analysts remained skeptical, as the company said the same thing in last year's third quarter, then in the fourth said inventory levels were too high. The company also said its fourth-quarter earnings would be at or below expectations.

Sony Ericsson said Wednesday it finally turned its first profit in the third quarter, thanks to strong sales in Japan and the success of its popular T610 model. SE made EUR 39 million in the quarter, compared to a EUR 116 million loss last year, and EUR 102 million in the previous quarter this year. The company said it be profitable next quarter, but the introduction of lower-priced handsets will dampen the level of profits, also adding it didn't see an increase in market share this quarter even though sales volumes increased.

Intel reported strong profits that fuelled optimism of a tech recovery, with demand for its PC chips resulting in sales growth outpacing typical seasonal demand. But Intel's wireless unit still lost money, no matter how many Centrino ads they put up.

Nokia's third quarter earnings were flat at EUR 0.18 per share, even though handset sales volumes increased. Declining handset prices, and demand for low-cost models, as well as the depressed dollar, took the blame for holding down profits. The company also gave a downbeat forecast for the rest of the year, even though it said (like Samsung and Motorola earlier) that it sees strong market growth continuing, with 460 million handsets to be sold worldwide this year. Nokia is gaining market share with its cheap phones, however, growing from 36 to 39 percent, the company said.