Nokia's networks chief embarks on new expansion drive

Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:23am EST
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By Ritsuko Ando

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia's telecoms equipment unit, NSN, is focusing on expanding sales after years of concentrating on cost cutting and ditching unprofitable contracts to improve margins, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) CEO Rajeev Suri, considered a leading candidate to head the Finnish company after it sells its loss-making handset business to Microsoft, did not rule out acquisitions to expand the business.

"It would be unwise for us not to scan the market and see what's available. Of course we'll do that," Suri said in an interview on Wednesday.

Cuts, including a drastic restructuring plan that slashed around a quarter of NSN's workforce, and the ditching of unprofitable service contracts, have helped NSN turn profitable.

The unit's improved finances and cash from the Microsoft deal are seen providing the new Nokia ammunition to go after smaller rivals. Sources told Reuters in late September that Nokia was considering buying French rival Alcatel-Lucent's wireless business.

But the 46-year old Suri also stressed that it was not always necessary to acquire weaker rivals, adding that: "We don't have to do deals for the sake of deals, just because we have money."

"I am a believer in market forces determining the outcome. I'm a believer in 'just wait.'"

NSN, a joint venture of Nokia and Siemens until Nokia bought out the German company's stake in August, will account for over 90 percent of the group's sales.   Continued...

A view shows the headquarters of Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), formerly known as Nokia Siemens Networks, in Espoo October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva