Is an IPO Next for NSN?

12:15 PM Hints of independence for joint venture

October 20, 2011

2 Min Read
Is an IPO Next for NSN?

12:15 PM -- With costs cut, revenues boosted by recently acquired assets and a solid place in the emerging LTE network rollout market, is Nokia Networks closer to gaining independence from its two supportive parents? (See M&A Props Up NSN's Q3 Growth.)

It's certainly closer than it was a year ago, and it's clear NSN's parents are exploring the options, with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s CFO referring to a potential evaluation process during today's earnings conference call. However, a spin-off involving an IPO doesn't look likely in the near term.

NSN has been finding its feet and looks on course for a more settled 2012 following a few months of growth and internal confidence that positive operating margins can be achieved on a regular basis. That confidence was backed by the recent round of financial support from parents Nokia and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) and the appointment of a new executive chairman, Jesper Ovesen, who has IPO experience. (See NSN Gets $1.36B & New Leader.)

But NSN has some way to go yet before it'll be allowed to leave home. Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila noted today during the Finnish handset giant's third-quarter review that NSN needs to be able to prove to the world's operators that it is committed to long-term innovation in the mobile broadband market, as well as proving it can stand on its own two feet financially. None of that can be achieved quickly. Considerations as to whether NSN becomes an independent company will come "at a later point," he noted.

In the meantime, Ovesen has plenty of time to consider all the options open to NSN. Quite what the financial markets might look like in a few years' time, of course, is another matter altogether.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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