One alert Fool community member termed it "news wire overkill" -- the half-dozen or more press releases issued by Nokia
As a sometime Nokia investor, I take a great interest in following the company, which is one of those world-beaters with so much free cash flow that it seems cheap even when my calculations -- conservative, mind you -- show it to be fairly valued, as now.
What could throw my ciphering off is stronger growth. And the most interesting of today's news releases -- which announces the release of a bunch of new phones -- gets to the core of that issue. For those who remember the Nokia saga from last year, the major problem was a significant, if slight, slump in market share for the world's leading handset seller, down to about 29%. Most observers put the blame squarely on the Finnish giant's inattention to flip phones, which allowed competition such as Motorola
Though Nokia's market share is reportedly back up to about 32%, a few more hits would certainly bolster investor confidence, if not jump-start a bit more growth on the top line. The lineup released today includes four sliding phones, a couple of flips, and an entry-level candy bar, most due out in the third and fourth quarters of the year.
Though the two flips look an awful lot like efforts to play catch-up, the higher-end offerings -- the feature-loaded 6280 and 6111 -- are much different animals, with large screens and hidden numeric keypads. It's an interesting strategy given the hot sales of ugly, billion-button messaging machines such as Researchin Motion's
The takeaway for investors is this: Big, cash-rich powerhouses like Nokia can afford to stumble because they've got the money to stand up, dust off, and come back. While Nokia's no-brainer price has passed, it's hardly expensive, trading for an enterprise value that's roughly 11 times EBITDA. That kind of cash-earnings engine provides a pretty potent backstop. But if any of these new phones gain traction, Nokia could easily outpace the Street's current minimal expectations, and that would mean some pleasant surprises for shareholders.
For related Foolishness:
- Are Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC)and Nokia getting busy with WiMax?
- Easy money was made on the fall and rise of Nokia.
- It isn't just Nokia's problem. Motorola doesn't get much love, either.
Last summer, Nokia was a classic wounded-elephant value. If you're interested in capitalizing on the Street's nearsightedness regarding solid companies with temporary problems, try a free look at Motley Fool Inside Value.
Seth Jayson carries an entry-level Nokia candy bar, which he finds adequate despite the occasional butt-dialing mishap. At the time of publication, he had no position in any company mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here . Fool disclosure rules are here .