Nokia Siemens reports break even in fourth quarter

Nokia Siemens Networks broke even in the fourth quarter thanks to sharply higher sales, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters also quoted joint owner Nokia as saying that it expected the company to grow faster than the telecoms infrastructure market in 2008.

Painting a modestly more optimistic picture of the market than NSN's rivals Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson , Nokia said it expected very slight growth in euro terms for the market in telecoms gear and services in 2008, the Reuters report said.

Asked whether he also saw a slowdown in capital expenditure from telecoms carriers, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told CNBC TV: 'It's very diversified.'

Speaking after Nokia as a whole posted a 57% jump in earnings per share, he declined to give an overall forecast for operators' capex but said spending in underdeveloped markets such as India might compensate for any US slowdown, the Reuters report said.

In the fourth quarter, it posted exactly zero operating profit, after a reported operating loss of 120 million euros ($177 million) in the third quarter. Stripping out special items, operating profit was 66 million euros, compared with a loss of 34 million euros ($51 milliom).

Sales rose 25% sequentially to 4.583 billion euros ($6.7 billion), mainly due to seasonal factors, which Nokia said was the main reason for the improvement in profitability as it drove operating expenses lower as a percentage of sales.

NSN gained share of the mobile networks market from Ericsson in the third quarter.