Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) was counting on its Windows phones to turn things around, but unfortunately, that may not be happening, at least in European markets.
The company has certainly been less than forthcoming about precise numbers when it comes to sales of its Lumia handsets, but analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have done some research on the subject.
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The bank ssued a report to investors today saying that Windows phones are “showing signs of weakness in Europe.” They said this poses an especially big problem for the company because its feature phone sales are weakening.
BAML analysts called Nokia’s feature phones “a cash cow under threat.” The analysts pointed out that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s feature phone business is extremely important because it accounts for more than 90 percent of its units sold, and the division is still profitable for the company. They said it has also been helping to subsidize the company’s smartphone business.
The analysts noted that while Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) has had some success positioning its Asha phones as “a smart feature phone,” they see momentum in the line fading because of falling market share and increased competition. They believe that Nokia will struggle to scale this line of phones because of lower priced competitors.
In addition, BAML analysts did some research on European acceptance of the Windows phone. According to their analysis, it appears that the devices lost market share during February, most notably in the U.K., Finland and Germany. They also said that they don’t see many signs of momentum in the U.K., and they point to comCast data, which also suggests that Nokia might be losing market share. They also note that web data seems to indicate that the company’s market share is flat.
As far as emerging markets, the analysts said Windows phone sales in Mexico are strong, although demand in China and Russia looks to be lackluster.
BAML analysts said they remain below consensus for Nokia and expect an operating losses of €368 million this year, compared to the consensus of losses of €265 million. They have reiterated their Underperform rating on shares of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) and set their price objective at €1.90 per share.
Shares of Nokia are down more than 1 percent at the New York Stock Exchange in Monday morning trades.