Ina Fried

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Extent of Nokia’s Woes to Be Laid Bare in Latest Earnings Report

That Nokia is facing a bumpy transition is painfully obvious.

Indeed, the company has already warned that this quarter will be brutal. The main question Nokia will answer in its earnings report Thursday (overnight for those of us in the States) is just how bad it expects things to get in the second half of this year.

At the end of May, the company cut its quarterly forecast and also threw out its full-year estimates, leaving a good deal of uncertainty over how deep the pain will go.

Nokia was vague on what to expect, but noted that the operating margins in its core devices-and-services business could be around break-even, down from an earlier forecast of margins in the range of six percent to nine percent. Sales in that business, it said, would be “substantially below” its earlier forecast of 6.1 billion to 6.6 billion Euros.

Undoubtedly the company will also talk up the progress it is making toward readying a Windows Phone lineup, although that isn’t expected to do much for its fortunes until 2012, despite the arrival of the first Nokia Windows Phones later this year.

In an interview earlier this month, Nokia smartphone unit head Jo Harlow said the company should have at least one model, and potentially more, on the market this year.

“I’m committed to one model this year,” Harlow said. “More would be great.”

One financial bright spot is that Nokia should get a boost from its patent settlement with Apple. The company has said the benefit could be material, though it hasn’t gone into details.

Analysts expect Nokia to post a second-quarter net loss of 104 million euros ($147 million) from a profit of 227 million euros ($322 million) in the year-earlier period. Net sales are projected to drop eight percent to 9.25 billion euros ($13.1 billion).

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