America Just Doesn't Get Nokia

This could be the perfect time to buy Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) shares. The world's biggest mobile phone maker is grotesquely cheap.

OK, so this morning's second-quarter earnings report wasn't awe-inspiring. Nokia made an adjusted net profit of $0.21 per share and per depositary receipt, down from $0.52 per share a year ago (holding currency constant at current levels). Revenue came in at an even $14 billion, 25% below the $18.5 billion haul in 2008. Shares are trading down 15% as of this writing.

But that narrow view doesn't do Nokia justice. There are clear signs that the Finnish technology giant is busy bouncing off the bottom of this terrible trough: Sales increased 6.9% over last quarter, and earnings per share jumped 50% quarter over quarter. Nokia owns a commanding 38% share of the global mobility market and 41% of the global smartphone pie.

North America is one of Nokia's weakest markets, so you'd be forgiven if you don't think of the company as a leader. Here, the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerry own the smartphone market. Samsung and Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) both have Nokia beat in the not-so-smart phone segment.

But Nokia shipped 9.3 million N and E series smartphones worldwide this quarter. That's more than all the BlackBerry and iPhone sales put together last quarter. Nokia is a leader, whether the American consumer realizes it or not.

And CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo keeps his eyes on the ball. "We are balancing short-term priorities with our longer-term growth ambitions as elements of the mobile handset, PC, Internet and media industries converge to form a new industry," he said. You can tell that he's absolutely right on the money just by looking at what the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) have been up to lately.

Intel is a Nokia partner now, hoping to create a whole new category of mobile communications devices. Google goes beyond the device to form new ideas about communications in general. And when computer giant Dell wants to make a smartphone, you know there's change in the air; technologies are converging and changing what consumers expect from mobile devices. Expect Nokia to stay on the cutting edge of mobile devices.

Someday, even Americans might learn to love the worldwide mobility leader.

And in the meantime, the stock is trading at ludicrously low earnings multiples. Philip Durell handpicked Nokia for Motley Fool Inside Value subscribers almost a year ago, noting that it was "ridiculously cheap" at $20 per share. It's still the same innovative leader at $13.50, and could be a multibagger within a couple of short years.

More mobile Foolishness:

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Dell, Intel, and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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  • Report this Comment On July 16, 2009, at 3:02 PM, XMFSmashy wrote:

    To be fair, the Inside Value guys have lowered their fair value estimate on Nokia 3 times since then.

    Toby (who thought it looked good at $20 too)

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2009, at 2:44 PM, kkrimmer wrote:

    Gotta laugh when I read mention of google's phone, much like the iPod killer Zune I'm sure. And Dell getting into the smart phone game... sure, from the guy who said the best thing for shareholders would be to liquidate Apple. Who's the fool now?

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