Nokia (NYSE:NOK) reported second-quarter results in the early, early morning hours on Thursday. Reacting to the report, investors sent Nokia shares more than 6% higher. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), which has a market value intimately tied up with Nokia's since the companies have a stock-swap merger going through regulatory reviews right now, also saw its shares rise more than 5% on Thursday.
In the second quarter, Nokia's adjusted earnings rose 50% year over year to $0.10 per American depositary share. As reported, sales rose 9% to $3.2 billion. Revenues decreased 1% on a constant currency basis, since much of Nokia's global business is done in currencies doing better than the euro in 2015.
American analysts had been expecting earnings near $0.06 per ADS on sales of roughly $3.6 billion. Nokia crushed the Street's earnings targets despite falling far short of the top-line consensus.
Nokia's adjusted net income more than tripled over the year-ago period. Operating profits surged 51% higher thanks to 16% higher gross profits and a sharp reduction to financial expenses. That's Nokia's investment-grade assets at work, gaining in value to offset interest costs and currency exchange headwinds -- a nice bonus but hardly integral to the company's core business.
The HERE digital mapping platform increased its sales 25% year over year, but remains a relative minnow representing just 9% of Nokia's quarterly sales. The patent licensing business known as Nokia Technologies grew 31%, but is even smaller at 6% of total revenues.
Nokia Networks, the mastodon network installation and operations division that collects the remaining 85% of Nokia's overall sales, delivered 6% sales growth. Networks sales were especially strong in North America, the Middle East, and Africa, and greater China, with sales recording double-digit percentage gains in each of these markets. Nokia is busy building brand-new wireless networks in developing markets such as Chile and the Middle East. Asia-Pacific proved tougher, as revenues fell 7% year over year there. Highly developed markets such as Japan and South Korea are taking a breather from large-scale wireless network upgrades at the moment.
"Software sales were up significantly; core networking sales improved; we saw a reduced impact of strategic entry deals; Global Services had one of its best quarters in the history of the company; and costs remained well under control," said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri in a press statement.
Nokia draws its forward guidance in broad brush strokes. The company expects segment sales to simply "increase year over year," even for the rapidly growing HERE and Technologies divisions.
The company reported some progress on the pending Alcatel-Lucent merger, including regulatory approvals from important markets such as Brazil, Russia, Canada, and the European Commission. The Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period has expired in the U.S., removing another potential antitrust roadblock. The merger is seen closing in the first half of 2016, adding to Nokia's earnings by 2017, and delivering annual synergies of approximately $1 billion in 2019.