Bloomberg News

Nokia Siemens in Talks to Sell Fixed-Line Assets

February 27, 2012

Rajeev Suri, chief executive officer of Nokia Siemens Network. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Rajeev Suri, chief executive officer of Nokia Siemens Network. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

Nokia Siemens Networks, the phone equipment venture between Nokia Oyj and Siemens AG (SIE), is in talks with potential buyers of its non-core assets, Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri said in an interview.

Nokia Siemens, which competes with Ericsson AB and Alcatel- Lucent (ALU) as well as Chinese vendors such as Huawei Technologies Co., expects more divestments after it sold three divisions last quarter to refocus its business on mobile broadband, Suri said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“We are already negotiating with buyers to sell some assets,” Suri said yesterday in the interview. “We are taking other assets into maintenance mode, shifting investments out into other segments.”

Ericsson AB is not interested in the buying assets Nokia Siemens has put up for sale, as it focuses on organic growth, Hans Vestberg, CEO of the Stockholm-based rival, said in a separate interview at the Mobile World Congress today.

“Our main strategy is organic growth. We want to grow with our research and development,” Vestberg said. “We are always looking around for different types of assets, but today I don’t have any interest in that portfolio,” he said.

‘Perfect Voice’

Nokia Siemens’s voice-over-Internet-protocol unit called “perfect voice,” carrier ethernet, fixed narrowband and business support systems are among assets the Espoo, Finland- based company is looking for acquirers, CEO Suri said.

Suri said in November that Nokia Siemens would scale back product lines to concentrate on mobile broadband networks and services to become profitable. The venture has posted losses in all but two quarters since it was set up in April 2007.

Nokia Siemens sold its microwave unit to Canada’s DragonWave, the WiMax business to NewNet Communications in the U.S., and a fixed-line operation to Adtran in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Nokia Siemens has set a strategy of reducing annual costs by 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion). The telecom equipment maker said in November it would eliminate 17,000 jobs worldwide, equivalent to about 23 percent of its workforce, by the end of 2013.

Union Negotiations

Nokia Siemens is negotiating with trade unions in countries affected by the cuts, Suri said. He declined to say when an agreement would be reached in Germany and Finland.

Shares (NOK1V) of Nokia fell 5.5 percent, to 4.09 euros in Helsinki. The handset maker unveiled in Barcelona a Windows Phone that’s 30 percent cheaper than its least expensive model based on Windows’s software to capture first-time users against similar devices powered by Google Inc.’s Android. Siemens, based in Munich, slipped 1 percent to 74.25 euros on the Frankfurt exchange.

Ericsson (ERICB) dropped 1.6 percent to 66.60 euros in Stockholm. The company announced today it would team up with Western Union Co. (WU) to market a mobile wallet service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marie Mawad in Barcelona via mmawad1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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